Student Learning at the First-Year and Senior Level: 2014 & 2015 Combined National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Results

As reported in the 2014 & 2015 National Survey of Student Engagement Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE (PDF), results from the 2014 & 2015 Combined National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) indicated that 84% of seniors felt their experience at WSU contributed to their knowledge, skills, and personal development in thinking critically and analytically “very much” or “quite a bit”. In addition to Critical and Creative Thinking, results from the 2014 & 2015 NSSE also provided indirect evidence of student learning on Quantitative Reasoning, Information LiteracyCommunicationDiversity, and Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning at the first-year and senior levels.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about first-year and senior student participation in activities and programs that promote their learning and personal development. NSSE assesses the extent to which students engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. At WSU, NSSE is offered to all first-year and senior students on all WSU campuses every other spring. With the census administration, students are recruited via email (i.e., students receive a survey invitation and reminders by email). The Office of Institutional Research (IR) coordinates the administration of NSSE at WSU.

NSSE was administered at WSU in both 2014 and 2015, but is typically administered every other year on all campuses. In 2014 and 2015 combined, 2,048 seniors with certified majors and 1,157 first-year students responded to the survey at WSU. The overall response rate was 19% in 2014 and 15% in 2015, compared to the average national response rate of 22% in 2014 and 20% in 2015 for participating institutions with undergraduate enrollments of 10,000 or more.

NSSE provides participating institutions with a variety of reports — WSU’s current and historic NSSE results are available on IR’s NSSE survey webpage. Questions on the NSSE survey also provide indirect evidence of student learning on six of the WSU Learning Goals at the first-year and senior levels (Critical & Creative Thinking, Quantitative Reasoning, Information Literacy, Communication, Diversity, and Depth, Breadth & Integration of Learning) — see the 2014 & 2015 Summary of Key Evidence for UCORE (PDF), for a summary of selected NSSE results mapped to the WSU Learning Goals.
Note: NSSE 2014 and 2015 results for WSU seniors include students who completed UCORE requirements along with students that completed the prior General Education Requirements (GERs), as UCORE was established beginning in 2012 for entering first-year students and 2013 for transfer students.

As with any voluntary survey, response rates and the presence of non-response bias should be considered when evaluating NSSE results. Low response rates present a concern regarding the accuracy of the results as low response rates may impact how representative the results are. In other words, there is concern that those who did not respond (non-respondents) may have different views than those who did respond and therefore the results are not representative of the entire group.

For additional information, see the National Survey of Student Engagement Key Assessment page.