Director of Academic Assessment Leah Adams-Curtis presented data to the Student Life Committee this week regarding the student experience at Knox College. The data was collected by using the Cooperative Institutional Research Program Senior Survey. Knox graduates from the class of 2012 took the survey during their graduation rehearsal.
According to Adams-Curtis, the comprehensive results are reliable as well as “statistically sound and methodologically accurate.” She warned the committee to interpret the data with a grain of salt, reminding them that the numerical measurement of feelings and behaviors only told part of a fuller story and that such information only illustrated a “snapshot view.”
Even though the survey results produced a lengthy and detailed statistical analysis of Knox’s student body, Adams-Curtis focused on three crucial components: students’ sense of belonging, students’ experience with positive racial interactions and students’ overall satisfaction with student services (which includes healthcare and counseling).
The end results are both encouraging and perplexing. Compared to other schools, Knox students feel a stronger sense of belonging, and only a small portion of the student body identified with not experiencing a sense of belonging at all. Moreover, the results illustrated that Knox women felt a greater sense of belonging than Knox men. In regards to racial relationships, Knox students reported having stronger positive racial interactions compared to students in other schools.
Other areas where Knox students outnumbered students from other institutions include smoking and drinking. According to one particular graph, data suggested that Knox had the greatest number of freshmen who did not drink alcohol at all. By the time this group of freshman became seniors, however, most were drinking significantly more than the senior class of other schools.
However, it was noted that this survey was taken during the last term of senior year, a period in which alcohol consumption usually increases. Another area of possible concern is the fact that Knox seniors, when compared to other seniors from other institutions, were less satisfied with health and psychological services.
Despite these seemingly negative statistical attributes, Adams-Curtis expressed delight about Knox students’ overall satisfaction. Ninety-two percent of the class of 2012 marked “satisfied” or “very satisfied” when asked to evaluate their overall college experience. The number of graduates that marked “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” amounted to only about 3 percent.