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Predictors of Students’ Satisfaction with Their Educational Experience: Preliminary Findings from the NSSE Survey, 2006 Cecelia G. Martin and Beatriz Joseph.

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Presentation on theme: "Predictors of Students’ Satisfaction with Their Educational Experience: Preliminary Findings from the NSSE Survey, 2006 Cecelia G. Martin and Beatriz Joseph."— Presentation transcript:

1 Predictors of Students’ Satisfaction with Their Educational Experience: Preliminary Findings from the NSSE Survey, 2006 Cecelia G. Martin and Beatriz Joseph University of South Alabama Appreciation is expressed to Dr. Pay Covey, Dr. Dorothy Mollise, Frank Hurley, Paul Darring and Judith Holland for their assistance with this presentation.

2 Traditionally, institutions of higher education have been:  Self-regulatory; and,  Generally only accountable to colleagues and educational- related entities (Lahey and Griffith 2002). Recently, there has been a growing demand for accountability from sources outside the academic community (Lahey and Griffith 2002; Schnell and Doetkott 2003)  Political leaders;  Non-educational agencies, e.g., the FBI, IRS and EPA; and,  The general public. Trends in Higher Education

3 Trends in Higher Education Trends in Higher Education (cont.) Some of the reasons for an increased emphasis on accountability include:  The federal government is increasingly funding more loans than grants.  Nationwide, state support for higher education is decreasing. ● The results include:  Increasing tuition costs,  More of the financial obligation for education expenses is shifting to students and/or parents (Miller 2003; Hu and St. John 2001); and,  Potential declines in persistence by minority students (Hu and St. John 2001).  A recognition by the academic community that higher education is, as is the U.S. economy, a service industry (Elliott and Shin 2002).

4 Institutional Accountability and Student Satisfaction Institutional accountability has typically focused on :  Academic achievement;  Retention, and;  Graduation rates. Student satisfaction comprises the student’s academic, social and spiritual experiences as well as overall life experiences (Elliott and Shin 2002; Coffman and Gilligan 2003). Student satisfaction has been found to influence:  Retention rates;  Graduation rates; as well as,  Levels of academic achievement (Einarson and Matier 2005).

5 Methods Previous studies conducted by Institutional Research have found that students from various groups were generally positive about their educational experience (see next slide). The purpose of this preliminary analysis is to examine more fully the factors which contribute to a positive educational experience for students at USA In 2006, USA participated in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). A total of 259 participated for a response rate of approximately 35%.

6 Evaluation of the Overall Educational Experience While a Student at USA

7 Methods (cont.) NSSE includes a global measure of student satisfaction:  “How would you evaluate your entire educational experience at this institution?”  For the analysis, responses were collapsed into two categories: 1=poor/fair and 2=good/excellent. The following scales were developed using factor analysis:  Educational development (alpha = 0.88),  Social emphasis (alpha = 0.76) and  Personal growth (alpha = 0.89). Variables included as part of the scales are listed in Appendix A.

8 Methods (cont.)  In addition, two other questions were used: ● “Overall, how would you evaluate the quality of academic advising you have received at your institution?”  Response categories were again collapsed into two categories: 1=poor/fair and 2=good/excellent. ● Student evaluations of the quality of relationships with faculty members.  A 7 point scale was used to assess faculty relationships in which 1= unhelpful, unavailable, unsympathetic to 7 which assessed faculty relationships as helpful, available and sympathetic.  Three categories were created. 1-3 = 1; 4 = 2; 4-7 = 3.

9 USA is typically described as a commuter institution. It offers bachelors, masters, doctorates and first professional degrees. For 2006:  There were 13,090 students enrolled for the Fall 2006 semester.  Retention rate for the 2005 cohort (full-time students) was 72 percent.  For the 2000 cohort, the six year graduation rate was 40%. The University of South Alabama

10 Demographic Characteristics of Survey Participants Demographic Characteristic USA, 2006NSSE, 2006 FrequencyPercentFrequencyPercent Gender Male4, Female8, Race/Ethnicity White8, Nonwhite4,

11 Distribution of Student Responses for Quality of Faculty Relationships and Academic Advising Independent variablesFrequencyPercent Quality of faculty relationships Assessment of academic advising

12 Mean Scores for the Following Scales: Educational Development, Social Involvement and Personal Growth Independent variablesnMeanSDRange Educational development Social emphasis Personal growth

13 Correlations with Selected Variables Independent variablesOverall satisfaction Quality of relationships with faculty Evaluation of academic advising Educational development Personal growth Social emphasis Race.065 Gender Age p<.05; 2 p<.01

14 Logistic Regression Analysis: Predictors of a Positive Educational Experience Independent VariablesBStand. ErrorWaldExp(B) Faculty relationship Faculty relationship(1) Faculty relationship (2) Academic advising Educational development Social involvement Personal growth Gender Constant p<.05; 2 p<.01; 3 p<.001

15 This research focused on factors affecting students’ educational experiences. We found that the following factors positively impacted student satisfaction:  The quality of faculty relationships,  Satisfaction with academic advising, and  Social involvement on campus. However, there are a few limitations of this analysis:  Low response rate,  Sample size,  Cross-sectional, and  Generalizability. Summary and Conclusions

16 Economic Trends in Higher Education In addition, this analysis does not address the impact that economic issues have on retention and graduation rates. Current economic trends related to higher education :  From to , median family income for the age group increased by 2 percent while tuition at public four year institutions increased by 59 percent during this same time period.  Since , college tuition and fees have increased by 375 percent compared to increases in: ● Medical care by 223 percent, and ● The Consumer Price Index by 95 percent.

17 Economic Trends in Higher Education (cont.)  The amount of Pell grants as a percentage of tuition for four year public institutions decreased from: ● 55 percent in ● to slightly less than 40 percent in  Tuition at four-year public institutions in Alabama increased by 7 percent.  Per capita income in Alabama increased by only 2% for the same time period.  Total state appropriations for higher education increased 3 percent from 2002 to  Total state grant aid for students did not change.  Alabama along with 43 states received an “F” in affordability for 2006.

18 Selected Demographic Characteristics of Mobile County, the State of Alabama and the United States MobileAlabamaU.S. Individual poverty rate (%) Median income (per capita)$19,996$21,270$25,267 Minority (%) Below poverty level (%) White African American Unemployment (%) White African American

19 Overall Impacts for Students The impacts include:  Less access for students from middle and lower income families;  Students from lower income groups are less likely to graduate from college (Wyner Bridgeland and Diiulio 2007).  Economically disadvantaged students who are high achievers experience a declining pattern of educational attainment over-time (Wyner, Bridgeland and Diiulio, Jr. 2007).

20 Impacts for USA The vast majority of USA students are from Alabama (75.9%) and Mobile county (54.7 %). Therefore, given the characteristics of Mobile county and the state of Alabama, a proportion of the student population of USA is at risk for dropping and/or stopping out. A study conducted with non-returning students in 2006 found that 51% of respondents cited “lack of money” as a minor or major as a reason for not returning.

21 Closing Comments There are a variety of reasons why students do not persist and graduate:  some personal,  some financial,  some institutionally related. As tuition outpaces funding sources of education, economic issues are expected to increasingly impact retention and graduation rates. Future research efforts at USA will continue to address the barriers to graduation with which students must contend, specifically focusing on the financial aspects of attending college and its relationship to student satisfaction.

22 References Coffman, D. L. and T. D. Gilligan “Social Support, Stress and Self-Efficacy: Effects on Students’ Satisfaction.” Journal of College Student Retention. 4, 1, Einarson, M. K. and M. W. Matier “Exploring Race Differences in Correlates of Seniors’Satisfaction with Undergraduate Education. Research in Higher Educaiton. 46, 6, Elliott, K. M. and D. Shin “Student Satisfaction: An Alternative Approach to Assessing This Important Concept.” Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. 24, 2, Hu, S. and E. P. St. John “Student Persistence in a Public Higher Education System.” The Journal of Higher Education. 72, 3, Lahey, J. L. and J. C. Griffith “Recent Trends in Higher Education: Accountability, Efficiency, Technology and Governance.” Journal of Legal Education, 52, 4 (December),

23 Measuring Up, 2006: The National Report Card on Higher Education, Alabama. The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education 17, 6, Miller, T “Governmentality or Commodification?: U.S. Higher Education.” Cultural Studies. Schnell, C. A. and C. D. Doetkott “First Year Seminar Produce Long-Term Impact.” Journal of College Student Retention. 4, 4, Wyner, J. S., J. M. Bridgeland and J. J. Diiulio, Jr Achievement Trap: How American is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: Lansdowne, VA. References

24 Appendix A Educational Development (alpha=0.88)  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is acquiring a broad general education?  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is acquiring job- or work-related knowledge and skills?  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is thinking critically and analytically?  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is developing computer and information technology skills?  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is developing your ability to make informed decisions as a citizen?  As an outcome of your college education, how important to you is understanding people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds?

25 Appendix A (cont.) Social emphasis (alpha = 0.76)  Encouraging contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds  Helping you cope with your non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)  Providing the support you need to thrive socially  Attending campus events and activities (special speakers, cultural performances, athletic events, etc.)

26 Appendix A (cont.) Personal growth (alpha=0.89)  Institutional contribution: Voting in local, state (provincial), or national (federal) elections  Institutional contribution: Learning effectively on your own  Institutional contribution: Understanding yourself  Institutional contribution: Understanding people of other racial and ethnic backgrounds  Institutional contribution: Solving complex real-world problems  Institutional contribution: Developing a personal code of values and ethics  Institutional contribution: Contributing to the welfare of your community  Institutional contribution: Developing a deepened sense of spirituality


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