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Research On Measuring And Analyzing Student Engagement In Classes Across University

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2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Engineering Education Research and Assessment III

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1076.1 - 10.1076.10



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Paper Authors

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Zhifeng Kou

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Sudhir Mehta

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Research on Measuring and Analyzing Student Engagement in Classes across University

Sudhir Mehta, Zhifeng Kou

North Dakota State Univeristy


The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) was especially designed to measure student engagement as a means of evaluating the impact of education at the university level. However, no such simple tool is available for measuring student engagement at an individual class level. This paper describes a classroom survey of student engagement (CSSE) that was adopted from the original NSSE Survey. The CSSE survey conducted over five semesters examined levels of student engagement in 539 classes from the first year to graduate level. Of 17,660 students enrolled in those 539 courses, 13,441 students completed the survey. Results showed more engagement in higher-level classes and also in those classes with fewer students. The study also compared results with the NSSE. Other instructors can use the instrument and the reported results to measure and compare the engagement levels in their classes.


Engaging students in the process of learning is one of the important goals of educators. Johnson1 noted that providing all knowledge in a passive manner to students is the old paradigm. The new paradigm is to actively engage students with the material and one another. Physics education research shows a two-sigma difference in understanding of main concepts between a group of students taught using interactive engagement methods and a group of traditionally taught students.2 In addition, national studies are examining alternative teaching and evaluation of university effectiveness in an effort to further understand and improve education.3,4

Hake2 conducted a pioneer study in physics education using over 6000 students for understanding the effectiveness of interactive engagement (IE). Hake2 defines the IE methods as those designed to gain a conceptual understanding through heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities that result in immediate feedback with peers and instructors. It was found that the IE methods had an average gain of 0.48±0.14 SD, which was two standard deviations above the traditional course which received an average gain of 0.23±0.04 SD. Hake5 summarized that “the use of interactive engagement (IE) strategies can increase the effectiveness of conceptually difficult courses well beyond that obtained with traditional methods.”

However, there are few studies conducted on the measurement of student engagement at class level across the whole educational institution. Mehta and Kou demonstrated that the IE method in statics class is superior to the traditional teaching methods using the Math-Statics Baseline

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Kou, Z., & Mehta, S. (2005, June), Research On Measuring And Analyzing Student Engagement In Classes Across University Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14925

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