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SHSU To Participate
In Educational Quality Survey

Some 1,300 Sam Houston State University students are being selected at random and will be asked in the next few weeks to participate in a national survey on the quality of their college educational experience.

Selected freshmen and seniors from Sam Houston State and more than 300 other colleges and universities will be asked to complete a short survey which will take less than 15 minutes and will be available in an e-mail format.

"University rankings in magazines are based mostly on what students were like when they started college--their entrance exam scores or high school class rank," said Troy Courville, director of institutional research at SHSU.

"The rankings also emphasize what institutions have--numbers of faculty members, library books, computer terminals, and so forth. Oddly enough, what gets little attention is what matters most to student learning--what students do with the resources their school provides."

The National Survey of Student Engagement focuses on things that are "really important" to a high quality undergraduate education--what students do and what they say about their experience, said Courville.

The actual document to be filled out by students is called "The College Student Report." Its questions are about how and where students spend their time, the nature and quality of their interactions with faculty members and peers, and what they have gained from their classes and other aspects of their college experience.

"All of these activities are directly related to desired outcomes of college," said Courville. "For this reason, the survey is sort of an anonymous suggestion box. Its results will get the attention of people who can make changes for the better."

According to Courville, each university will receive an institutional report as well as national data for comparison purposes. Results are expected by about November.

Results will also be available to others who are interested, including accrediting bodies, governmental agencies and prospective students.

The National Survey of Student Engagement is supported by a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and co-sponsored by the Pew Forum on Undergraduate Learning and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Additional information about the survey is available on the Web.

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SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Feb. 9, 2001
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