Determining the Reliability and Use of the Center for Community College Student Engagement Survey of Entering Student Engagement As a Tool to Predict Student Success in a Large Urban Community College District
Description: As community colleges have gained more recognition as a viable pathway for students to enter higher education, they have faced greater accountability that has prompted both practitioners and policy makers to attempt to find solutions and tools, such as National Survey of Student Engagement, Community College Survey of Student Engagement, and Survey of Entering Student Engagement (SENSE), to aid in improving student success outcomes. This study addressed the validity and reliability of the SENSE instrument using a three-pronged approach via student data collected over 3 years of SENSE administrations at a large urban community college (n = 4,958). The instrument was first factor analyzed against the SENSE benchmarks for effective educational practice through generalized least squares and principal component exploratory factor analysis. Although the instrument did not deliver a chi-square factored fit for the six benchmark categories, consistent loadings were observed. Second, construct reliability was tested for each benchmark category, and the survey as a whole using Cronbach’s alpha. All categories did not yield sufficient coefficient scores for establishing construct reliability. However, the overall survey produced a Cronbach’s alpha of .85, clearly indicating construct reliability for all items combined. Third, correlations between SENSE perception scores and community college students’ grade point averages, fall to fall retention, semester credit hours, course completion for developmental and college gateway courses, and degree and certificate completion were calculated. Although no strong correlations were observed, the SENSE may be useful to community colleges seeking to increase completion rates.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Harris, Sheryl