Worcester State University
Institutional Assessment


National Survey of Student Engagement  (NSSE)

Research has shown that students who are engaged in their college experience, both in and out of the classroom, have a better likelihood to graduate. The more students are engaged in their studies and the more feedback they receive from faculty, the deeper their understanding. The same is true for other aspects of the college experience (Kuh, 2009). Worcester State University has participated in three national surveys on student engagement: Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) in 2007; the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2008 and 2010; and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) this coming year. These surveys provide the institution with a picture of the students’ experiences that can be used for discussion and change.

The samples are drawn from first year students and seniors. Student responses are collected under five categories: academic challenge, active learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, and supportive campus environments. The first-year results for the first two categories showed a slight increase from 2008 to 2011 and a slight decrease in the last two categories, with a significant decrease in responses to student-faculty interaction. The results for seniors showed a downward trend in all five categories from the first to second survey. A complete summary of results for both years is provided.

2008         2011

Kuh, G. D. (2009, Spring). The national survey of student engagement: Conceptual and empirical foundations. New Directions for Institutional Research, 141, pp. 5-20.

General Assessment 

Institutional Assessment of Student Learning 2013

Institutional assessment of written communication, critical Thinking and quantitative literacy was conducted to mirror the Massachusetts State Pilot assessment Project. As a LEAP state, Massachusetts is piloting the assessment of student work at the state level, aggregating results across the three sectors of institutions. The initial pilot study was completed during spring 2013. WSU chose to mirror the state process while completing the first assessment at the institutional level.

Those students with 105 – 120 credits and the courses in which they were enrolled were identified as possible participants in the assessment. To narrow the field, faculty teaching courses with at least 10 students meeting the criteria were approached to submit one assignment to be assessed in one or more of the competencies. Of the 17 faculty members asked to participate, 5 submitted student work. The courses were from 5 different disciplines, ranging from 100-level to 400-level courses. Faculty were asked to send in the assignment instructions and complete 3 cover sheets to determine which of the competencies were supported in the assignment. 45 student artifacts were used.

The results are presented in table form.

Critical Thinking and Written Communication 2012

A pilot study was done in 2012 to assess critical thinking using the LEAP Value rubric. Student work was collected during the spring semester from a variety of classes and was assessed by a voluntary team of faculty during the summer. A follow up assessment of written communication was also done using the same student artifacts. Results are posted in a combined report.

Written Communication 2010

A pilot study was done in 2010 to assess student writing using the LEAP VALUE rubric for Written Communication. The assessment of student writing will continue as part of the AMCOA Assessment Experiment project.

ETS Proficiency Profile

As a member of the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) Worcester State University opted to participate in the ETS Proficiency Profile (ETS PP) during the 2010-2011 academic year, selecting the abbreviated form of the test. First-semester freshmen and second semester seniors were included in the sample.  The ETS PP provides a means to document program effectiveness by assessing proficiency in four core skill areas and three academic areas. Students were given the test as ‘homework’, to be taken electronically. A total of 525 students responded; 311 were first-year students and 214 were seniors. Twenty-one tests were excluded from the report. Sixty-one percent of the respondents were female. A report of the the results presents a summary of the data.

Commuter and Off-campus Student Experience Survey (COSES)

The COSES survey was administered during the spring 2012 semester. Invitations were exteneded to 3300 students, with 196 responding. Results indicate that 70% of the respondents feel a sense of pride in being a WSU student. 74% found their experience enjoyable. The survey data also show that 74%  of WSU students are involved in activities off campus.

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