National survey shows Centre students more "educationally engaged" on average than those of other leading institutions
RELEASED: Nov. 17, 2005
DANVILLE, KYThe results are in for the 2005 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, and again, they show an extremely high level of educational engagement among Centre College students, compared both to liberal arts colleges nationwide and selected colleges in Centre's peer group of selective colleges.
For the first time, the 2005 NSSE survey compares student engagement at an institution to a selected peer group. Centre's peer group consists of: Centenary College of Louisiana, Furman University, Hendrix College, Rhodes College, the University of the South (Sewanee), and Washington and Lee University.
"This year's results show once again that our students report that the Centre education is a very successful one in many, many ways," says John Ward, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. "The ACS colleges that comprise our peer group offer excellent educations and their students' reports are quite positive. But Centre's students, seniors and freshmen, report higher levels of satisfaction and engagement than their ACS counterparts in nine of the 10 categories."
Another new feature in the 2005 NSSE results is a comparison of an institution to two new reference groups: above-average institutions with benchmark scores in the top 50 percent nationally, and high-performing institutions with benchmark scores in the top 10 percent nationally.
In all engagement categories, Centre students' scores were higher than the average of the above-average institutions for both first-year students and seniors. In the Enriching Educational Experiences and Level of Academic Challenge categories, the scores of both first-year students and seniors were higher than the average scores of the high-performing institutions. In the Student-Faculty Interaction and Supportive Campus Environment categories, the scores for Centre's seniors were higher than the average of the high-performing institutions.
The NSSE (popularly pronounced "Nessie") results come on the heels of the announcement in August that Centre ranks 41st among national liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News & World Report, the highest national ranking of any Kentucky institution. The widely followed annual U.S. News ranking considers such factors as a college's reputation, endowment, average SAT scores, and selectivity in the application process. In contrast, NSSE focuses on what students actually experience when they come to college.
Research shows that the best predictor of learning and personal development among college students is the amount of time students spend "engaged" in their education. NSSE is designed to measure the extent to which colleges effectively engage students in their education.
NSSE results are based on surveys completed by approximately 225,000 randomly selected first-year students and seniors from 518 institutions. They measure student engagement in five key areas (or "benchmarks"):
In all of these areas, Centre's scores were above the mean scores of national liberal arts colleges.
Centre has participated in NSSE every year since the survey began in 2000 and is one of only a handful of colleges to have participated every year and made all its NSSE results available to the public.
Participation in NSSE, and the release of results to the public, is voluntary, although certain states, including Kentucky, require that their state institutions of higher learning take part and publish their results.
"We're exceeding the goals that NSSE has set for us as a college," said John C. Ward, dean of Centre College. "High school students and their families should use NSSE measures to see which colleges do the best job in helping students learn. Centre's results in the survey are one more clear indication that Centre students are intensely and personally challenged to achieve their educational goals."Since 2000, almost 900,000 undergraduates at about 1,000 different colleges and universities have participated in NSSE.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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