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CCSSEE 2008 Archive

Overview of 2008 Survey Results

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College

The Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) provides information about effective educational practice in community colleges and assists institutions in using that information to promote improvements in student learning and persistence.  CCSSE’s goal is to provide member colleges with results that can be used to inform decision making and target institutional improvements.  Student engagement, or the amount of time and energy that students invest in meaningful educational practices, is the underlying foundation for CCSSE’s work.  CCSSE’s survey instrument, the Community College Student Report (CCSR), is designed to capture student engagement as a measure of institutional quality.

CCSSE Member Colleges
CCSSE will again utilize a 3-year cohort of participating colleges (2006 through 2008) in all of its data analyses,[1] including the computation of benchmark scores.  This cohort is referred to as the 2008 CCSSE Cohort.

This approach, which was instituted in 2006, increases the total number of institutions and students contributing to the national dataset; this in turn increases the reliability of the overall results. In addition, the 3-year cohort approach minimizes the impact, in any given year, of statewide consortia participation.

The 2008 CCSSE Cohort is comprised of a total of 585 institutions across 48 states, plus British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and the Marshall Islands. Two hundred ninety-five of these member colleges are classified as small (< 4,500), 147 as medium (4,500-7,999), 96 as large (8,000-14,999), and 47 as extra-large institutions (15,000 + credit students).[2]  One hundred fourteen of the Cohort member colleges are located in urban areas, 129 in suburban areas, and 342 in rural-serving areas.

Our college falls into the small college size category and is classified as being located in a rural-serving area.

Student Respondents
Credit classes were randomly selected – stratified by time of day (morning, afternoon, and evening) – from institutional class data files to participate in the survey.  Of those sampled at our institution, 88 students submitted usable surveys.  The number of completed surveys produced an overall “percent of target” rate of 77%. Percent of target rate is the ratio of the adjusted number of completed surveys to target sample sizes. (The adjusted survey count is the number of surveys that were filled out properly and did not fall into any of the exclusionary categories.[3])

2008 Student Respondent Profile
To compare the characteristics of student respondents with the characteristics of the underlying student population for each participating college, CCSSE uses the data reported by the institution in its most recent IPEDS Enrollment Report for the following variables:  gender, race and ethnicity, student age, and enrollment status (part-  or full-time). The data are aggregated to compare the 2008 CCSSE Cohort survey respondent population to the total student population of the 2008 CCSSE Cohort member colleges.

Of the student respondents at our college who answered this item, 34% are male and 66% are female. This mirrors the full population of the CCSSE Cohort community college students, comprised of 41% males and 59% females.

2008 CCSSE student respondents at Southern range in age from 18 to 64.  Approximately 94% are between 18 to 39 years old; 68% are 18 to 24 years old while 26% are 25 to 39 years old.

Racial Identification
94 percent of student respondents identify themselves as White/non-Hispanic, 1% as Hispanic/Latino/Spanish, 1% as Black or African American, and 0% as Asian. 1 percent of the student respondents are Native American. 1 percent marked “other” when responding to the question, “What is your racial identification?”

International Students
1 percent of our students responded yes to the question, “Are you an international student or foreign national?” though Southern is not permitted to admit students on international student visas.

Enrollment Status
81 percent of the student respondents at Southern report attending college full-time, while 38% of the 2008 CCSSE Cohort colleges’ total student population attended full-time. Only 19% of surveyed students report being part-time college students, compared to 62% as reported to IPEDS. This inverse representation is a result of the sampling technique and the in-class administration process.  For this reason, survey results are either weighted or disaggregated on the full-time/part-time variable so that reports will accurately reflect the underlying student population.

The results for the following student respondent categories are weighted according to the most recent IPEDS population data.

Limited English Speaking Students
Students with limited English speaking skills, or those whose native language is not English, comprise a significant proportion of students in community colleges.  At our institution, 0% of enrolled students are non-native English speakers.

First-Generation Status
63% of students indicate that neither parent has earned a degree higher than a high school diploma nor has college experience; accordingly, these students are considered "first-generation" status. 37.2 percent indicate that their mothers’ highest level of education is a high school diploma (with no college experience), and 42.5% indicate that level for their fathers.

Educational Attainment
84 percent of the respondents report starting their college careers at this community college.  Approximately 66% of students indicate that their highest level of educational attainment is a high school diploma or GED; 48% have completed fewer than 30 credit hours of college-level work; 11% report either a certificate or an associate degree; 4% have earned a bachelor’s degree; and 1% have earned an advanced degree.

Credit Hours Earned
34 percent of surveyed students have completed fewer than 15 credit hours; 14% have completed 15-29 credit hours; and 52% have completed more than 30 credit hours.

40 percent of students report that they earned grades of B+ or higher, while 2% of students report that they earned grades of C- or lower.

External Commitments
39 percent of students work 21 or more hours per week; 45% of students care for dependents at least 11 hours per week; and 72% of students spend at least 1-5 hours per week commuting to class.

Excluded Respondents
The total counts of respondents in an institution’s raw data file will differ from the numbers reported in the institutional reports due to intentional exclusion of certain surveys.  Exclusion in accord with consistent decision rules serves the purpose of ensuring that all institutional reports are based on the same sampling methods and that results therefore are comparable across institutions. Respondents may be excluded from institutional reports for the following reasons:

  • The respondent did not indicate whether he or she was enrolled part-  or full-time at the institution.  Because all results are either weighted or broken down by enrollment status, this is essential information for reporting.
  • The survey is invalid.[4]
  • Students reported their age as under 18.
  • Students indicated that they had taken the survey in a previous class.
  • Over-sampled respondents are not included. These are surveys that individual institutions paid an additional fee to acquire. Because there are no requirements stipulating how these students are sampled, these data are not included in the standard institutional report.

Selected Findings

The CCSSE group has identified five benchmarks of effective educational practice in community colleges.  These areas allow institutions to gauge and to monitor their performance in areas central to the mission of teaching and learning.  The benchmarks are as follows:

Active and Collaborative Learning—Students involved in their learning perform better academically than those who are not involved.  Collaboration with others in learning situations also adds valuable skills that can be transferred to career and community.

Student Effort—Students’ own actions and behaviors directly influence learning and successful goal attainment.  “Time on task”, preparation for class and studying are examples of measures of student effort.

Academic Challenge—At the heart of collegiate quality is academic challenge and creativity.  Included in this benchmark are measures of complexity of tasks and academic standards.  Also included is the nature and challenge of academic work.

Student-Faculty Interaction—Persistence toward academic goal achievement is directly related to the amount of contact students have with faculty members.  Faculty members can serve as collaborators, role models, mentors and guides for life long learning.

Support for Learners—Students perform at higher levels and are more satisfied with their academic experience when they feel they are being supported by the institution.  Positive relationships between diverse groups in both work and social settings add to student satisfaction.  A variety of services offered to students by the institution also provide benefits.

All scores in the gray areas were less than Southern’s scores.

Index of Survey Items Associated with Selected Findings Categories

Educational Goals

Time on Task

4q, 9c, 9e, & 15

Academic Experience
4a, 4b, 4f, 4g

Developmental Education, ESL, Study Skills, and Orientation Courses
8b, 8c, 8d, 8e, 8f, and 8h

Curricular Experiences
8a, 8g, 8h, 8i

Student Learning

Barriers to Persistence

Student Satisfaction
20, 26, and 27

Student and Academic Support Services

Student Activity Items

Interpretation of Results
Southern can be identified as a “high performing institution”, as defined by the CCSSE organization.  To be identified as a “high performer” scores must be at the 80th percentile or higher on at least 3 of the 5 benchmarks for each classification and comparison group.  Southern is a high performer in these areas:  ALL STUDENTS—All participants, small colleges and rural colleges; STUDENTS WITH 0-29 CREDIT HOURS—All participants, small colleges and rural colleges; PART-TIME STUDENTS—All participants, small colleges and rural colleges; FULLTIME STUDENTS—All participants, small colleges and rural colleges.

  1. For returning participants, the college’s most recent year of participation is included in data analyses.  For example, if a college participated in 2007 and 2008, only the 2008 data would be used in the 3-year cohort.
  2. These enrollment statistics are based on the most recent IPEDS data with the exception of situations in which it is necessary for colleges to self-report.
  3. See exclusionary rules on page 4.