Academic Challenge: First-year students

Challenging intellectual and creative work is central to student learning and collegiate quality. Colleges and universities promote student learning by challenging and supporting them to engage in various forms of deep learning. Four Engagement Indicators are part of this theme: Higher-Order Learning, Reflective & Integrative Learning, Learning Strategies, and Quantitative Reasoning. Below are three views of your results alongside those of your comparison groups.

Mean Comparisons

  UMD Your first-year students compared with
UMD Peers  UMD Competitors  NSSE Carnegie
Engagement IndicatorMean Mean 


   Mean Effect
   Mean Effect
Higher-Order Learning35.936.9*-.08 36.4-.04 37.7***-.14 
Reflective & Integrative Learning33.633.9-.03 33.7-.01 34.4-.07 
Learning Strategies35.136.2*-.08 35.8-.05 38.1***-.22 
Quantitative Reasoning27.627.2.03 27.0.05 27.2.03 
Notes: Results weighted by institution-reported sex and enrollment status (and institution size for comparison groups); Effect size: Mean difference divided by pooled standard deviation; Symbols on the Overview page are based on effect size and p before rounding; *p<.05, **p<.01, ***p<.001 (2-tailed).

Score Distributions

Notes: Each box-and-whiskers chart plots the 5th (bottom of lower bar), 25th (bottom of box), 50th (middle line), 75th (top of box), and 95th (top of upper bar) percentile scores. The dot represents the mean score.

Performance on Indicator Items

The table below displays how your students responded to each EI item, and the difference, in percentage points, between your students and those of your comparison group. Blue bars indicate how much higher your institution's percentage is from that of the comparison group. Purple bars indicate how much lower your institution's percentage is from that of the comparison group.

   Percentage point differencea between
your first-year students and
Higher-Order LearningUMD UMD Peers UMD Competitors NSSE Carnegie
Percentage responding "Very much" or "Quite a bit" about how much coursework emphasized... %         
4b.  Applying facts, theories, or methods to practical problems or new situations73 +0 +2 +1 
4c.  Analyzing an idea, experience, or line of reasoning in depth by examining its parts68 +1 +1 -3 
4d.  Evaluating a point of view, decision, or information source62 -2 -3 -7 
4e.  Forming a new idea or understanding from various pieces of information 62 -4 -3 -6 
Reflective & Integrative Learning   
Percentage of students who responded that they "Very often" or "Often"...        
2a.  Combined ideas from different courses when completing assignments52 +1 +1 +0 
2b.  Connected your learning to societal problems or issues43 -4 -5 -8 
2c.  Included diverse perspectives in course discussions or assignments44 -2 -3 -6 
2d.  Examined the strengths and weaknesses of your own views on a topic or issue 59 -1 +0 -2 
2e.  Tried to better understand someone else's views by imagining how an issue looks from his or her perspective 68 +0 +2 +1 
2f.  Learned something that changed the way you understand an issue or concept 65 +1 +0 -1 
2g.  Connected ideas from your courses to your prior experiences and knowledge79 +3 +3 +2 
Learning Strategies   
Percentage of students who responded that they "Very often" or "Often"...        
9a.  Identified key information from reading assignments71 -0 -2 -5 
9b.  Reviewed your notes after class58 -3 -2 -8 
9c.  Summarized what you learned in class or from course materials55 -3 -2 -8 
Quantitative Reasoning   
Percentage of students who responded that they "Very often" or "Often"...        
6a.  Reached conclusions based on your own analysis of numerical information (numbers, graphs, statistics, etc.)54 +2 +4 +3 
6b.  Used numerical information to examine a real-world problem or issue38 +2 +2 -0 
6c.  Evaluated what others have concluded from numerical information38 +1 +1 -0 
Notes: Refer to your Frequencies and Statistical Comparisons report for full distributions and significance tests. Item numbering corresponds to the survey facsimile.
a.Percentage point difference = Institution percentage – Comparison group percentage. Because results are rounded to whole numbers, differences of less than 1 point may or may not display a bar. Small, but nonzero differences may be represented as +0 or -0.

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