North Central State College regularly surveys its students to gain better insight into developing an environment to enhance student learning, development and retention. Student engagement, or the amount of time and energy students invest in meaningful educational practices, is the underlying foundation this effort. The primary tools the college uses are projects from the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin.
High Level Deomgraphics and Key Findings from 2010-11
The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) provides information about effective educational practice in community colleges and assists institutions in using that information to promote improvements in student learning and persistence. NC State has administered the CCSSE survey in the spring of 2006, 2008 and 2011.
The Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) helps community colleges focus on students’ “front door” experiences at college. SENSE is designed to provide a clear picture of both student behaviors in the earliest weeks of college and the institutional practices that affect students during this critical time. NC State first administered SENSE in fall 2010.
Both CCSSE and SENSE group together conceptually related survey items that address key areas of student engagement. Educational research has shown these benchmark areas to be important to entering students' college experiences and educational outcomes.
The six SENSE benchmarks are titled: Early Connections, High Expectations and Aspirations, Clear Academic Plan and Pathway, Effective Track to College Readiness, Engaged Learning, and Academic and Social Support Network. The five CCSSE benchmarks are titled: Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge, Student Faculty Interaction, and Support for Learners.
*These reports compare NC State resposnes to those of other small colleges, as well as all CCSSE colleges. Individual items marked with an asterisk note a statistically significant difference from the peers (whether positive or negative), and must be studied closely.
Means Summary Reports
Means reports present an average of all responses for a particular type of survey item. These analyses compare average item responses for survey items that have scaled responses (e.g., strongly agree to strongly disagree) between member colleges and various groups (e.g., similarly sized colleges), or between subgroups within a college. Means reports also provide a t-test statistic, effect size, and a visual indicator of whether these two means are practically different.
When interpreting means results in CCSSE and Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE) data, the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) uses a combination of two measures: a very conservative alpha level of .001 and an effect size of .20. Therefore, if a comparison is significant at the alpha level of .001 and has an effect size of .20 or greater, then it is considered a difference to be worthy of further investigation.