2012 Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)

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1 2012 Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) According to recent survey data, the students of Auburn s 2012 freshman class believe they are well prepared for college and expect to be more engaged academically during their first college year than they were during their last year of high school. They rate having help to succeed academically as the most important feature of a campus environment and expect that they will find it difficult to manage their time. Auburn University administered the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) to first time freshmen in summer 2012 during Camp War Eagle. Out of 3,852 new first time freshmen 3,743 completed a survey for a response rate of 97. The BCSSE asks new freshmen about their academic and co curricular experiences in high school and their expectations for the first year of college. BCSSE results produce six scale scores for each student. High School Engagement (HSE) measures students' educationally purposeful behavior during the last year of high school. Engagement (EAE) measures how fully they expect to engage in such behavior during the first year of college. Difficulty (EAD) indicates how much academic difficulty students expect to have during the first year of college, while Perseverance (EAP) indicates their confidence that they will persist in the face of any such difficulty. Perceived Preparation (PAP) provides student estimates of their academic readiness. And Importance of Campus Environment (ICE) rates the importance they place on having a challenging and supportive college environment. Each scale ranges from 1 (low) to 10 (high), as shown by the blue line in the chart below. Importance of Campus Environment (ICE) Perceived Preparation (PAP) High School Engagement (HSE) Difficulty (EAD) Engagement (EAE) Perseverance (EAP) AU new freshmen expect to be more engaged academically during their first college year (EAE, 5.69) than they were during their last year of high school (HSE, 5.31). They feel well prepared for college (PAP, 7.41), and they do not expect to encounter significant academic difficulty (EAD, 4.99). They are also confident that they will persist in the face of any such difficulty (EAP, 6.90). They find a challenging and supportive campus environment very important (ICE, 7.14). The following sections highlight key findings from each of the six BCSSE engagement scores. Importance of Campus Environment (ICE) The Importance of Campus Environment (ICE) score shows how challenging and supportive new freshmen expect their college environment to be. The ICE score is derived from six questions that are similar to items on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which is given to rising sophomores and graduating seniors each year. In 2012, incoming AU freshmen gave high importance ratings to all aspects of the campus environment covered by BCSSE. Most important of all to them was having help to succeed academically, followed by having opportunities to attend campus events and activities and being provided with a challenging academic experience. Least important to them was getting assistance in coping with non academic responsibilities, Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 1 S eptember 12

2 though 64 of new freshmen still considered this aspect important. The graphs and tables below present the 2012 BCSEE results. How important is it to you that your college or university provides each of the following? Important A challenging academic experience 84 Support to help succeed academically 94 Opportunities to interact with students from different backgrounds 77 Assistance coping with non-academic responsibilities (work, family, etc.) 64 Support to help thrive socially 73 Opportunities to attend campus events and activities Perceived Preparation (PAP) The Perceived Preparation (PAP) score shows how new freshmen rate their readiness for college level work in seven key academic skills: writing, speaking, critical thinking, quantitative analysis, computing, teamwork, and independent learning. How prepared are you to do the following in your academic work at this college? Prepared Write clearly and effectively 86 Speak clearly and effectively 84 Think critically and analytically 90 Analyze math or quantitative problems 75 Use computing and information technology 78 Work effectively with others 93 Learn effectively on your own In 2012, strong majorities of incoming AU freshmen felt well prepared in all six skills with most saying they were well prepared to work effectively with others (93) and fewest saying they were well prepared to analyze math or quantitative problems (75). Difficulty (EAD) The Difficulty (EAD) score shows how much trouble new freshmen think they will have with six predictable challenges of the first college year learning course material, managing time, paying for college expenses, getting help with school work, making new friends, and interacting with faculty During the coming school year, how difficult do you expect the following to be? Learning course material Managing your time Paying college expenses Getting help with school work Making new friends Interacting with faculty Difficult Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 2 S eptember 12

3 In 2012, about 67 of incoming AU freshmen expected learning course material to be difficult, and 73 of them expected to have trouble managing their time. By contrast, only 19 expected to have difficulty making new friends during their freshman year. This confidence in finding friends is not surprising, since 37 of respondents said that 4 or more of their close friends were also attending Auburn, while only 27 reported that none of their close friends were. Perseverance (EAP) None 27 The Perseverance (EAP) score is calculated from students answers to questions about how certain they are that they will stay focused academically during their first college year, even in the presence of difficulties or distractions or more During the coming school year, how certain are you that you will do the following? Certain Study when there are other interesting things to do 71 Find additional information for course assignments when you don't understand the material 84 Participate regularly in course discussions, even when you don't feel like it 63 Ask instructors for help when you struggle with course assignments 83 Finish something you have started when you encounter challenges 90 Stay positive, even when you do poorly on a test assignment In 2012, most incoming AU freshmen felt certain that they would be able to persevere despite obstacles. Nearly all respondents (90) were certain that they would be able to finish something they have started when they encountered challenges. Most were also certain that they would participate regularly in course discussions even if they did not feel like it (63) or keep studying even when there were other interesting things to do (71). Overall, however, the 2012 EAP score for incoming AU freshmen was high (6.9) relative to their scores both for actual academic engagement in high school (5.3) and for expected academic engagement in the freshman year (5.7). These incoming freshmen, in other words, understand that they will have to show perseverance and believe they can do so, but they may have a weaker understanding of how specific academic behaviors, discussed next, may affect their college success. High School Engagement (HSE) and Engagement (EAE) The two BCSSE scale scores for High School Engagement (HSE) and Engagement (EAE) in the freshman year reflect students answers about specific educationally purposeful activities how much assigned reading and writing they have done or expect to do, how many hours they spent or plan to spend preparing for class, and how often they engaged in or plan to engage in other educationally purposeful activities like class participation, making presentations, or interacting with teachers and other students. In 2012, most incoming AU freshmen (67) reported being assigned a lot of reading during their senior year in high school. Even more (74) said they wrote a lot of short papers, but only 30 said they had written many papers longer than 5 pages. Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 3 S eptember 12

4 During your last year of high school, about how much reading and writing did you do? Quite a Bit or Very Much Assigned reading (textbooks or other course materials) 67 Writing short papers or reports (5 or fewer pages) 74 Writing longer papers or reports (more than 5 pages) Despite being assigned what they considered to be lots of reading and writing, these incoming freshmen spent only about 9.3 hours per week preparing for class during their last year of high school, a little over an hour a night. They expect to study almost twice as much 16.8 hours per week during the first year of college in line with results from the 2012 cohort who reported studying 15.1 hours freshman year. BCSSE: During your last year of high school, about how many hours did you spend preparing for class? BCSSE: During the coming school year, about how many hours do you think you will spend preparing for class? Data from the 2012 BCSSE survey reveal additional gaps between high school experiences and college expectations. For example, incoming freshmen expect to interact with classmates outside of class time far more often than they did in high school (73 vs. 34). Further expectations of teacher interaction, whether to discuss grades and assignments (51 did so in high school, 65 expect to do so in college) or to discuss ideas from their readings and classes (44 did so in high school, 56 expect to do so in college) seem mismatched. During the last year of high school/coming school year about how often did you do/expect to do each of the following? ( Very Often or Often) Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions Made a class presentation Discussed grades or assignments with a teacher Worked with other students on projects during class Worked with classmates outside of class to prepare class assignments Prepared two or more drafts of a paper or assignment before turning it in Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with teachers outside of class Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with others outside of class High school n/a High School Experiences, College Expectations, and College Experiences Going beyond the six key benchmark scores, the BCSSE collects additional information about students high school experiences and expectations for college, some of which is summarized here. ally, the typical incoming AU freshman in 2012 had completed about four years of English/Literature, Math, Science, and History/Social Science, about 2.6 years of a foreign language, 2.6 AP classes, 3.2 Honors classes in high school, and 0.9 college courses for credit. Almost all of the 93 who took a high school course in pre calculus trigonometry passed, about a half (53) had taken and passed a calculus course, and all who took a probability or statistics course (29) passed. Notably, 60 of these students intend to earn a Master s degree or a doctorate. For these students easily the most common co curricular activity in high school was participation in community service or volunteer work (64), followed by an athletic team (62), an academic honor society (50) or a religious Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 4 S eptember High School

5 youth group (44). Very few incoming freshman reported involvement in an academic club (23), such as a debating club, or a vocational interest group (12), such as a business club. About a third (32) were involved in one of the performing arts. About a fifth (19) were involved in student government; and 12 were involved in publications, such as student newspaper or a yearbook. The tables and graphs below provide additional detail about the high school experiences, college expectations, and college experiences of current AU students. During the last year of high school/coming school year about how many hours did you spend/you think you will spend doing each of the following? High school Working for pay (before or after school, weekends) Participating in co-curricular activities (arts, clubs, athletics, etc.) Relaxing and socializing (watching TV, partying, etc.) High school During the last year of high school/coming school year about how often did you do/expect to do each of the following? ( Very Often or Often) High school Came to class without completing readings or assignments 10 n/a Had serious conversations with students of a different race or ethnicity than your own Talked with a counselor, teacher, or other staff member about college or career plans 47 n/a Had serious conversations with students who are very different from you Missed a day of school 17 n/a High school Work on a paper or project that requires integrating ideas from various sources n/a 88 Put together ideas or concepts from different courses when completing assignments n/a 75 Receive prompt feedback from faculty on your academic performance n/a 64 Work with faculty members on activities other than coursework n/a Try to better understand someone else's views n/a 75 Learn something that changes the way you understand an issue or idea n/a 78 High School Experiences: Classes Completed During high school, how many of the following types of classes did you complete? Classes Advanced Placement (AP) classes 2.6 Honors classes (not AP) taught at your high school 3.2 College courses for credit Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 5 S eptember 12

6 During high school, how many years of the following subjects did you complete? Years English/Literature 4.0 Math 4.1 Science 4.0 History/Social Sciences Foreign Language 2.6 To date, in which of the following math classes did you earn a passing grade? Passed Did not take Pre-calculus/Trigonometry 93 7 Calculus Probability or Statistics High School Involvement During your high school years, how involved were you in the following activities? Involved Performing or visual arts programs (band, chorus, theater, art, etc.) 32 Athletic teams (varsity, junior varsity, club sport, etc.) 62 Student government 19 Publications (student newspaper, yearbook, etc.) 12 honor societies 50 clubs (debate, mathematics, science, etc.) 23 Vocational clubs (business, health, technology, etc.) 12 Religious youth groups 44 Community service or volunteer work Overall, how academically challenging was your high school? What is the highest academic degree you intend to obtain at this or any college? About 77 of 2012 incoming freshmen indicated that their fathers had earned at least a bachelor s degree. About 76 indicated that their mothers had done so. 4.2 Uncertain, 15 Associate's degree, 1 Bachelor's degree, 24 Father Mother Doctoral degree, 24 Master's degree, 36 Office of Institutional Research and Assessment 6 S eptember 12

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