Interpreting differences between the United States and New Zealand university students’ engagement scores as measured by the NSSE and AUSSE
Journal article, 2012
Press releases concerning the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) results warn that university students in Australia and New Zealand are less engaged than their peers at United States institutions. Such warnings about student engagement and interactions then become targets for improvement on Australasian universities’ strategic plans. In considering New Zealand university students’ survey responses, we examined AUSSE and the US National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data for 2009 and 2010 with respect to all items that load on the five scales these instruments share. We argue that most of the observed differences in responses, response distributions and subsequent scale scores can be attributed to differences in educational pathways and cultures between the USA and New Zealand. Consequently, considerable caution in these trans-Pacific comparisons is warranted, particularly when formulating policy and practices to improve student engagement in New Zealand based on methods that have been employed in different educational contexts.
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE)