Grand Valley State University

NSSE 2005

 

Addendum – Senior responses stratified by native / transfer origin

Oct 19, 2005

 

  GVSU’s senior-year respondents to the NSSE are more likely to be transfer students than the senior participants at our peer institutions (48% vs. 36%).  Given the number of areas in which our seniors report less engagement and less development than our peers (and relatively less than our freshmen), the interpretation of our NSSE results is partially contingent on understanding whether our seniors who arrived as transfer students responded very differently from our “native” seniors. 

 

  I have examined the response data for differences in our seniors’ responses by provenance.  My conclusion is that transfer students do not substantially affect the NSSE profile of our seniors.  There are relatively few items where transfer and native seniors’ responses are significantly different from each other, and there are only two cases where the difference between transfer and native students accounts for more than half of the observed difference between GVSU’s results and those for our peers.

 

  In other words, even if we had only surveyed seniors who started at GVSU as FTIACs, most findings would be substantively unchanged.  Of the two exceptions, one is a case where the responses of transfer students reflect favorably on GVSU:  Native GVSU students are exactly like peers in their reported frequency of preparing multiple drafts of written work (mean score 2.40 for each group).  However, when all of our seniors’ responses are considered, our students report a significantly higher score (2.53).

  On the other hand, transfer students attribute smaller gains in general education to their experiences at GVSU than native students do (3.09 vs. 3.26).  If we had surveyed only native students, our score would be closer to the average of our peers (3.33), but it would still be lower.  Also, it’s important to remember that the peer sample does include transfer students, so excluding all of our transfer students creates an invalid comparison – if our sample were 36% transfers like the peer sample, the GVSU average would be 3.20, which is still significantly below the peer average.

 

 

Here’s a summary of all items where native seniors responses differed significantly from transfer seniors (p<0.05). 

 

Student Questionnaire Item

GVSU Native Seniors
(n=309)

GVSU Transfer Seniors

(n=281)

GVSU

All

Seniors

(n=626)

Peers

All Seniors

(n=1,314)

[How often have you] Prepared two or more drafts of a paper or assignment before turning it in 

2.40

2.68

2.53

2.40*

[How often have you] Worked with other students on projects during class 

2.50

2.63

2.56

2.51

[How often have you] Worked with faculty members on activities other than coursework (committees, orientation, student life activities, etc.)

1.72

1.50

1.61

1.92*

* indicates that GVSU rate for all seniors is significantly different from the rate for peers

[How often have you] Had serious conversations with students who are very different from you in terms of their religious beliefs, political opinions, or personal values

2.80

2.63

2.70

2.78

[How much does your coursework emphasize] Memorizing facts, ideas, or methods from your courses and readings so you can repeat them in pretty much the same form

2.68

2.47

2.58

2.79*

[How often have you] Exercised or participated in physical fitness activities

2.75

2.59

2.68

2.76

[Have you engaged in the following while in college?] Culminating senior experience (capstone course, thesis, project, comprehensive exam, etc.)

57%

46%

52%

43%*

Quality of relationships with other students

5.49

5.16

5.33

5.74*

[How much time do you spend] Working for pay on campus

1.82

1.31

1.57

1.76*

[How much time do you spend] Participating in co-curricular activities (organizations, campus publications, student government, social fraternity or sorority, intercollegiate or intramural sports, etc.)

1.98

1.43

1.71

2.24*

[How much time do you spend] Providing care for dependents living with you

1.65

2.92

2.25

1.82*

[How much time do you spend] Commuting to class (driving, walking, etc.)

2.49

2.69

2.58

2.36*

[How much has your inst contributed to your growth in] Acquiring a broad general education

3.26

3.09

3.18

3.33*

[How much has your inst contributed to your growth in] Understanding yourself

2.70

2.54

2.62

2.87*

[How much has your inst contributed to your growth in] Developing a deepened sense of spirituality

1.73

1.56

1.65

1.85*

* indicates that GVSU rate for all seniors is significantly different from the rate for peers