College ratings top competitors in national survey

A study released today by the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) reveals Penn State Harrisburg outperformed its benchmark group in several aspects of engaging students, and scored higher than previous surveys.

The report, “Fostering Student Engagement Campuswide –Annual Results 2011,” provides results from a survey of 416,000 first-year students and seniors across 673 U.S. colleges and universities. The annual survey compares feedback from students of participating colleges, revealing effective practices in education.

The college outperformed its peer group, a cluster of similar colleges, in the level of challenge of academic work, with more seniors working harder than expected to meet an instructor’s expectations and spending more than 10 hours per week preparing for class; and in students’ involvement in learning, with more first-year students making a classroom presentation, and more seniors working with classmates outside of class to prepare assignments.

First-year students’ and seniors’ ratings in the same areas also ranked higher than the 2008 survey, with another area – a supportive campus environment – rated higher by first-year students.

Reinforcing the University’s reputation, first-year students reported a favorable image of Penn State Harrisburg, and seniors would have chosen the college again if they could start their college career over.

Conducted since 1999, NSSE measures dimensions of quality in undergraduate education and provides information and assistance to educational organizations intending to improve student learning. This year’s report is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.