The final NSSE sub-scale included in the 2013 results report focuses on measuring student perceptions of their social environment. As before, this sub-scale is divided into two different dimensions.
Quality of Interactions
The first dimension reported for the campus environment sub-scale is composed of items asking respondents to provide general estimates of their satisfaction with key university groups. These groups include faculty, advisors, other students and various types of staff. Figure 17 summarizes results for first year students. Examination of the averages for each comparison group suggests that USAO first year students have a more positive evaluation of their interactions with others than their counterparts at each of the comparison groups. Indeed, this is supported statistical analysis as USAO scores in this category are significantly higher than those of every other comparison group.
Similar examination of senior respondents yields the same pattern of results. Statistical analysis reveals that USAO seniors also have a more positive perception of their interactions with university representatives. Figure 18 displays the average scores for each comparison group.
This group of questions asks students to rate their satisfaction with a variety of specific ways a university can demonstrate “supportiveness.” The specific items range from opportunities to participate in social events, to opportunities to interact with culturally diverse students. Results for first year students are summarized in figure 19. Overall, these students report a generally positive experience, with scores above the scale mid-point for all comparison groups. Statistical analysis reveals no significant differences between comparison groups, so USAO students are about as satisfied with this experience as are students from other campuses.
When we examine the results for these same items from Senior respondents (see figure 20) we find that USAO seniors are slightly more positive than the included comparison groups. In this case, statistical analysis reveals a significant difference between USAO and the Carnegie comparison group only. This result might be a bit of a surprise given how similar the comparison group averages are, but the Carnegie group yields just slightly less positive scores than the others. That tiny difference makes… well, all the difference.