The College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ) is a versatile tool that assesses the quality of effort college students expend in using resources and opportunities provided by an institution for their learning and development. Quality of effort is a key dimension for understanding student satisfaction and persistence and for understanding the effects of attending college. The more students engage in educationally purposeful activities, especially those recognized as good practice in education, the more they benefit in meaningful ways in their learning and development.
The CSEQ asks students to report the frequency with which they participate in common college activities, their perceptions of the college environment, and their estimates of individual gains related to areas of their personal and social development. The college activities questions explore such topics as how often students make contributions in classes, how often they receive prompt faculty feedback, and how often they interact in meaningful ways with peers in different contexts. The college environment questions ask students about their perceptions of the psychological climate for learning that exists on the campus. For example, do they view their campus as supportive of their academic efforts? The estimate of gains items ask students to reflect on their entire college experience and to estimate how much progress they feel they have made in areas of personal and practical development common to the college experience. The gains items represent holistic development, assessing such wide-ranging outcomes as acquiring relevant career information, writing clearly and effectively, understanding self and others, and gaining the ability to think analytically and critically.
Institutions use CSEQ data to determine program effectiveness, measure learning outcomes, assess academic year initiatives, and expand efforts of academic affairs and student affairs divisions, among others. With more than 150 items, the CSEQ provides institutions with valuable information about student experiences. Furthermore, student respondents may also benefit from the reflection and self-evaluation exercise associated with completing the survey. Many students say filling out the questionnaire prompts them to recall the range of activities in which they participated during the year and the progress they made toward important goals.
In addition to the CSEQ instrument, the CSEQ Research Program offers the College Student Expectations Questionnaire (CSXQ), which assesses new student goals and motivations. New students arrive with expectations about how and with whom they will spend their time in college. These expectations provide clues about how they will interact with peers and faculty members, which are behaviors that directly affect achievement and satisfaction with college. When paired together, the CSEQ and CSXQ instruments allow institutions to assess the degree to which student and institutional expectations are met.
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