Thursday, January 20, 2011

Survey to measure student engagement

This spring, Daytona State College will once again participate in a national survey designed to help colleges enhance teaching and learning.

The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) was first implemented a decade ago by the Community College Leadership Program at the University of Texas at Austin. Today, the survey is a key assessment tool for community colleges and how well they serve their diverse student populations. Each year, the survey focuses on different topics based on interest among CCSSE colleges and the research community. The national results are shared in CCSSE's annual report. This year, the survey will focus on student retention.

“Daytona State College is intent on being a leader in education, and this survey can assist us in identifying where we are and what further action may be helpful in our continuing work to support and strengthen teaching and learning,” said college President Frank Lombardo.

The college has been a survey participant five times since 2004.

Research shows that students are more likely to persist and succeed academically when they are actively engaged with faculty, staff and fellow students in the subject matter being learned. Studies also point to the social and intellectual cultures of community college campuses and classrooms, as well as investment in mechanisms for student support, as being keys to increasing retention and academic achievement.

The CCSSE instrument will help colleges to better hone in on best practices that support positive student outcomes. It asks students about their college experiences—how they spend their time; what they feel they have gained from their classes; how they assess their relationships and interactions with faculty, counselors and peers; what kinds of work they are challenged to do; and how their colleges support their educational goals. It asks students to report the frequency with which they engage in activities such as classroom discussions, whether they have participated in or plan to take advantage of learning opportunities, such as college orientation programs, internships or clinical placements, developmental education and organized learning communities.

Students then are asked to report the number of hours spent each week on activities such as preparation for class, participation in extracurricular activities, work, parenting and other variables. Other items assess the frequency with which students use the academic and student support services provided by the college, as well as their ratings of the importance of such services and their satisfaction with the services they receive.

Individual colleges also may incorporate additional survey questions to collect data that is specific to their institutions. This year, Daytona State will focus on questions regarding student writing and the college’s new Writing Center which opened this past fall semester. Dr. Rebecca Block, Writing Center director, said the survey results will help her and her staff to refine and customize the center’s offerings for students.

The survey will be administered in classes randomly selected by CCSSE to ensure a representative sample and to preserve the integrity of the survey results. CCSSE will report on the findings by July 31. The college president also will receive a key findings report, including an individually tailored executive summary.

For more information about the survey and CCSSE, visit them on the Web at