An Examination Of Five Benchmarks Of Student Engagement For Commuter Students Enrolled At An Urban Public University
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DepartmentAdvanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy
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National Survey Of Student Engagement
The purpose of this quantitative ex post facto study was to provide a description of the student engagement of commuter students attending a large urban public university located in a mid-Atlantic state using the five National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) benchmarks of student engagement. In addition, the study examined the relationship between the five benchmarks of student engagement (dependent variables) and selected personal characteristics (independent variables) of commuter students. The methodology used in this study was survey research based on secondary data from the NSSE. The NSSE yields five benchmark scores of effective educational practice: (a) level of academic challenge, (b) active and collaborative learning, (c) student-faculty interaction, (d) enriching educational experiences, and (e) supportive campus environment. The 28 item questionnaire was sent electronically to 4,997 students in the spring semester of 2009.There was a response rate of approximately 36% (n = 909) from the first year class and 33% (n = 826) from the senior class. Using the five NSSE benchmarks as the dependent variables and five personal characteristics (gender, race, academic classification, enrollment status, and type of commuter student), SPSS was used to summarize the quantitative data and to test the hypotheses using MANOVA. The results of this study concluded that seniors found a more enriching educational experience at the university when compared with first year students. The MANOVA did not detect overall differences in the five benchmarks between male and female, White and non-White, full- and part-time enrollment, and native and transfer students who commute to the campus of the selected institution. Significant two-way interactions were detected for the relationships between (a) Gender and Classification for Supportive Campus Environment (b) Gender and Type for Supportive Campus Environment, and (c) Race and Enrollment Status for Active and Collaborative Learning benchmarks. Implications from this research suggest that the commuter student perception is a significant factor when evaluating their undergraduate experience. Higher education administrators are advised to use institutional data to critically examine policies and practices from a commuter perspective.
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