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Survey to measure student engagement


McKITRICK
The University will survey students this spring about their experiences at Binghamton.

The National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, will randomly choose 2,000 freshmen and 2,000 seniors to participate in an online questionnaire.

“This is the crème de la crème of surveys,” said Sean McKitrick, assistant provost for curriculum, instruction and assessment. It’s widely cited and provides baseline figures that can be used to compare Binghamton to peer institutions. Data from Binghamton’s campus will only be available internally.

“We want to see that students feel highly engaged in the environment here at Binghamton and that they’re academically challenged,” he said.

Selected students will be contacted via e-mail in February. They’ll be asked to spend roughly 15 minutes answering questions focusing on topics such as how often they had to prepare two or more drafts of an assignment before turning it in and whether they plan to complete an internship before graduation.

The survey isn’t designed to gauge student satisfaction so much as it is to see whether undergraduates feel they’re having an enriching academic experience and engaged in active and collaborative learning.

“The idea is to get them to report how much they’re involved in educational activities,” McKitrick said.
Students who reply will not be contacted about the survey again. They will also be entered in a series of drawings for prizes including four iPod Nanos.

Students who fail to respond initially will receive several e-mail reminders as well as a reminder delivered to their postal address. They’ll qualify for the later drawings once they respond.

A 35 percent response rate would be good, said McKitrick, who emphasized that he’s hoping for as high a number as possible by the time the survey period wraps up in May. A higher response rate will allow various departments and divisions to break down the data while retaining a statistically useful sample.

McKitrick expects that the survey, which was last conducted at Binghamton in 2002, will be given every three years beginning this year.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08