This summer, the Office of Assessment spearheaded a campaign to promote the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement, or “BCSSE.” The BCSSE is a short, 36-question survey that collects information on incoming students’ high school academics and co-curricular experiences as well as their expectations for their first year of college.
Response rate skyrocketed
The Assessment team worked with Joe Morris, Director of SOAR (Student Orientation, Advisement, Registration) to promote the BCSSE. One essential strategy was switching from digital surveys to paper. This offered incoming students an opportunity to complete it during their SOAR activities, making it more convenient as they registered for their first semester of classes.
After the first two weeks of SOAR, the average session completion was hovering around 120-127– a projected total of 1700. By session eight, it was clear that several SOAR groups were going above and beyond, achieving an average participation rate of 90%.
The Assessment team felt that these groups needed some recognition. And never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.” Candy bars and thank you notes were distributed to the top leaders at the bi-weekly SOAR staff team meeting. They were then tagged in a congratulatory tweet from the Office of Assessment’s official Twitter for all the university to see.
The SOAR leaders started encouraging each other on Twitter by “favoriting” the congratulatory tweets to the groups with the highest participation each session. The encouragement and candy sparked a spirit of friendly competition, team encouragement, and an increase in response rates. Soon, 138-155 completed surveys each were coming in each session!
Thanks to the SOAR team, we received 2,030 completed surveys this summer.
Why is a high response rate important?
On October 3, for the first time at Missouri State, student advisers will receive individualized reports for each freshmen who completed the BCSSE survey during SOAR. The aggregate information from BCSSE is used to better understand first-year students’ needs, wants, and expectations. It focuses on six learning related areas.
That data would be useful to me!
BCSSE has been especially valuable for those working on:
- curricular reform
- academic advising
- faculty development
- accreditation and self-studies
- first-year programs
The Office of Assessment discussed and analyzed at BCSSE data during the “Turning Data into Action” session of the FCTL Showcase on August 13. BCSSE “Coffee Breaks” will be hosted this fall, where interested faculty and staff can collaboratively delve into the data together.
The individualized student report will be available to the students’ advisers this October. The summary reports will be available this November to all interested faculty and staff.
If you are interested in attending a BCSSE Coffee Break this fall or would like a copy of the data in November, please send an email to Assessment@MissouriState.edu.