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Data Informed Perspectives on the Undergraduate Student Experience. George D. Kuh ACHA Professional Development Workshop Las Vegas, NV November 30, 2006. Commission on Future of Higher Education. Improve student academic preparation and make more financial aid available

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Data Informed Perspectives on the Undergraduate Student Experience

  • George D. Kuh
  • ACHA Professional
  • Development Workshop
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • November 30, 2006
commission on future of higher education
Commission on Future of Higher Education
  • Improve student academic preparation and make more financial aid available
  • Simplify & restructure student financial aid system using incentives to control costs
  • Cultivate a "robust culture of accountability & transparency“: invent new student learning measures, make comparable information public, focus accreditation on outcomes
  • Embrace continuous innovation and quality improvement.
  • Target federal investments to critical areas such as math, science, and foreign languages.
  • Develop a national strategy for lifelong learning
working hypothesis
Working Hypothesis

Student health does not receive the attention it deserves on college campuses because it is not perceived to be a major factor in student or institutional performance

advance organizers
Advance Organizers
  • What kind of information about student learning and institutional effectiveness is useful for:
    • Improving undergraduate education?
    • Promoting healthy lifestyle choices?
  • How can ACHA-NCHA data be linked with other information about the student experience to inform efforts to foster student success?
student success in college
Student Success in College

Academic achievement, engagement in educationally purposeful activities, satisfaction, acquisition of desired knowledge, skills and competencies, persistence, attainment of educational objectives, and post-college performance

  • Assessing the undergraduate experience
  • What we know from NSSE
  • Selected lessons from DEEP
  • Discussion
working definition
Working Definition

Assess: (v.): to examine carefully

Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development

(Palomba & Banta, 1999, p. 4)

sampling of instruments
Sampling of Instruments
  • ACT/SAT score reports
  • Entering student surveys (6)
  • Enrolled undergraduates (8)
  • Student proficiencies & learning outcomes (5)
  • Alumni (2)

we value what we measure
We value what we measure

Wise decisions are needed about what to measure in the context of campus mission, values, and desired outcomes.

“If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it…”

assessment tools
Assessment Tools
  • Pre-college characteristics

Who students are

  • Process measures

Evidence of effective educational activity by students and institutions

  • Outcomes measures

Evidence of what students learn or can do

students today
Students Today
  • An entitlement mentality
trends in high school grades
Trends in High School Grades

UCLA Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP)

students today1
Students Today
  • An entitlement mentality
  • Cumulative deficit re: attitudes, study habits, academic skills
student success quiz
Student Success Quiz

What percent of high school seniors have college-level reading skills?

(a) 51% (b) 59% (c) 68% (d) 77% (e) none of the above

student success quiz1
Student Success Quiz

True or false:

25% of first-year first-time frosh at two-year colleges are required to take one or more remedial courses in college.

student success quiz2
Student Success Quiz

True or false:

About $300 million is spent annually on postsecondary remediation coursework.

student success quiz3
Student Success Quiz

What percent of students who take at least one remedial course in reading do not earn a certificate or degree within 8 years of first enrollment?

(a) 18% (b) 33% (c) 43%

(d) 61% (e) 70%

students today2
Students Today
  • More diverse than previous cohorts
  • Techno-savvy “NetGens”
students today3
Students Today
  • More diverse than previous cohorts
  • Techno-savvy “NetGens”
  • Psychologically fragile
student success quiz4
Student Success Quiz

About what percent of community college students return for the second year?

(a) 29% (b) 33% (c) 50%

(d) 61% (e) 77%

factors that threaten persistence and graduation from college
Factors That Threaten Persistence and Graduation from College
  • academically underprepared for college-level work
  • gap between high school and college
  • part-time enrollment
  • single parent
  • financially independent
  • children at home
  • 30+ hours working per week
  • first-generation college student
outcomes measures
Outcomes Measures
  • Standardized, nationally normed
  • Locally developed
outcomes data
Outcomes Data

National instruments

  • Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory
  • ETS MAPP and Major Field Tests
  • ACT Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency
  • Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA)
student satisfaction inventory
Student Satisfaction Inventory

SSI by Noel-Levitz:

workkeys assessments
Quik Call charges 18¢ per minute for long-distance calls. Econo Phone totals your phone usage each month and rounds the number of minutes up to the nearest 15 minutes. It then charges $7.90 per hour of phone usage, dividing this charge into 15-minute segments if you used less than a full hour. If your office makes 5 hours 3 minutes worth of calls this month using the company with the lower price, how much will these calls cost?

A. $41.48 B. $39.50 C. $41.87 D. $54.00 E. $54.54

WorkKeys Assessments

APPLIED MATHEMATICS: Level 5 Sample Question

WorkKeys Assessments by ACT-

workkeys assessments1
WorkKeys Assessments
  • APPLIED TECHNOLOGY: Level 4 Sample Question
  • Your industrial services company has been hired to deliver a small but heavy gearbox. The container is too small to justify renting a large truck and too heavy for the company\'s pickup truck. You decide to rent a heavy-duty utility trailer and pull it with the pickup truck. At which spot, labeled 1-5, on the trailer shown below should you place the container to pull the load most easily and safely?
  • A. 1 B. 2 C. 3 D. 4 E. 5

WorkKeys Assessments by ACT-

collegiate assessment of academic proficiency caap
Item # 1

In the end, everyone gives up jogging. Some find that their strenuous efforts to earn a living drains (1) away their energy.

Item # 2

Others suffering from (2) defeat by the hazards of the course, from hard pavement to muddy tracks, and from smog to sleet and snow.

Question #1

A. NO CHANGEB. drainC. has drainedD. is draining

Question # 2

A. NO CHANGEB. sufferedC. sufferD. suffering with

Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP)

Writing Skills Sample Passage and Items

CAAP by ACT- B, C)

locally developed outcome measures
Locally Developed Outcome Measures
  • James Madison battery
  • IU general education test
  • Major field tests (e.g. Coker)
  • Capstone projects
  • Electronic portfolios
process indicators
Process Indicators

Evidence that students and institutions are devoting effort to engaging in educationally purposeful activities

process indicators1
Process Indicators

National instruments

  • Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP)
  • Your First College Year (YFCY)
  • College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ)
what really matters in college student engagement
What Really Matters in College: Student Engagement

Because individual effort and involvement are the critical determinants of impact, institutions should focus on the ways they can shape their academic, interpersonal, and extracurricular offerings to encourage student engagement.

Pascarella & Terenzini, How College Affects Students, 2005, p. 602

foundations of student engagement
Foundations of Student Engagement

Time on task (Tyler, 1930s)

Quality of effort (Pace, 1960-70s)

Student involvement (Astin, 1984)

Social, academic integration (Tinto,1987, 1993)

Good practices in undergraduate education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)

Outcomes (Pascarella, 1985)

Student engagement (Kuh, 1991, 2005)

student engagement trinity
Student Engagement Trinity
  • What students do -- time and energy devoted to educationally purposeful activities
  • What institutions do -- using effective educational practices to induce students to do the right things
  • Educationally effective institutions channel student energy toward the right activities
good practices in undergraduate education chickering gamson 1987 pascarella terenzini 2005
Good Practices in Undergraduate Education(Chickering & Gamson, 1987; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005)
  • Student-faculty contact
  • Active learning
  • Prompt feedback
  • Time on task
  • High expectations
  • Respect for diverse learning styles
  • Cooperation among students
National Survey of Student Engagement(pronounced “nessie”)Community College Survey of Student Engagement(pronounced “cessie”)

College student surveys that assess the extent to which students engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development


NSSE Project Scope

  • One million+ students from 1,000+ different schools
  • 80% of 4-yr U.S. undergraduate FTE
  • 50 states, Puerto Rico
  • 35 Canadian universities
  • 70+ consortia
nsse survey
NSSE Survey

Student Behaviors

Student Learning & Development

Institutional Actions &


Reactions to People

& Environment

Student Background



In your experience at your institution during the current school year, about how often have you done each of the following?


effective educational practices
Effective Educational Practices

Level of

Academic Challenge

Active &

Collaborative Learning


Faculty Interaction





Educational Experiences

acha ncha and nsse respondents

63% female

80% <25 years old

81% White

5% African Amer

5% Hispanic

6% Asian Amer

2% Amer Indian

40% A grades


63% female

83% <25 years old

72% White

7% African Amer

5% Hispanic

4% Asian Amer

2% Amer Indian

41% A grades

ACHA-NCHA and NSSE Respondents
health impediments to student success
Health Impediments to Student Success
  • Stress (32%)
  • Cold/flu/sore throat (27%)
  • Sleep difficulties (25%)
  • Troubled friends/family (18%)
  • Depression/anxiety (16%)
  • Relationships (16%)
  • Internet/computer games (14%)
  • Alcohol (8%)
student engagement quiz
Student Engagement Quiz

What percent of students nationally study two hours or more for every hour in class?

(a) 13% (b) 27% (c) 41% (d) 60% (e) none of the above

student engagement quiz1
Student Engagement Quiz

What percent of first-year students relax or socialize five or fewer hours weekly?

(a) 9 (b) 17% (c) 29% (d) 38% (e) none of the above

student engagement quiz2
Student Engagement Quiz

What percent of first-year students frequently exercise or participate in physical fitness activities on a weekly basis?

(a) 20% (b) 32% (c) 43% (d) 52% (e) 61%

student engagement quiz3
Student Engagement Quiz

What percent of first-year students frequently participate in activities to enhance their spirituality on a weekly basis?

(a) 14% (b) 19% (c) 33% (d) 46% (e) 65%

what matters to grades
What matters to grades?
  • Pre-college achievement +
  • Female +
  • African American -
  • Part-time enrolled -
  • 21+ hrs work off campus -
  • 21+ hrs socializing -
  • 6+ hrs co-curricular -
  • Engagement +
what matters to persistence
What matters to persistence?
  • Female +
  • Pre-college achievement +
  • Part-time enrolled -
  • Merit grant +
  • Transfer status -
  • Work off campus 0
  • 6+ hrs co-curricular+
  • College grades +
  • Engagement +