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Using NSSE/AAUDE exchange data to examine undergraduate grades
Case study, AAUDE, Montreal, May 2005
Lou McClelland, University of Colorado at Boulder
Analyses by Jeff Schiel, CU-Boulder
How do grades earned by/assigned to undergraduates at Colorado compare to those earned by/assigned
for similar work or similar students at other AAU's?
Ah ha! NSSE asks for self-reported grades at the institution.
- All-years response-level data, all institutions, 2000 - 2004.
- Single zipped SAS v8.2 dataset. Not in warehouse
- Passworded, access only to institutions which have contributed.
- Codebooks from NSSE for each year
- User guide to the all-years response-level data
- Excel variable list for the all-years
response-level dataset. Contains variable names, labels, types, lengths, format names, and information on variable
matching and renaming over years.
Relevant NSSE items, from the
2003 codebook -- All for individual respondents
- What have most of your grades been up to now at this institution? Scale different each year 02 through
04: 1-5, 1-6, 1-8. E.g., 2003, 1=C, C-, or lower; 2=B-, C+; 3=B; 4=B+; 5=A-; 6=A
- Class standing, freshman to senior.
- Institution-reported SAT verbal, math, and total, and/or ACT composite, at entry.
- In your experience at your institution during the current school year, about how often have you . . .
worked harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor's standards or expectations? 1-4: Never to
- Others not used in analyses shown here
- Major, gender, ethnicity
- Father's (and also mother's, separately) educational attainment, 1 to 8.
- To what extent have your examinations during the current school challenged you to do your best work? 1-7:
Very little to very much
- About how many hours do you spend in a typical 7-day week . . . preparing for class? 1-8, zero to over 30 hours.
- To what extent does your institution emphasize . . . spending significant amounts of time studying and on academic work? 1-4 Very little to very much.
- Many other items on more specific types of academic work
Data prep work needed
- Select years, institutions, and respondents
- Colorado last participated in 2002 - Take 2002 plus '03 and '04
- Take all AAUDE institutions participating in those years who've shared data. N = 23, all public.
- Take only respondents in the NSSE "base" sample - representative of freshmen and senior populations. Other respondents are "oversamples" - could be all high
GPA, all low GPA, all women, all history majors, anything.
- Assured comparability of the samples is essential! But cannot assure comparability of who did and did not respond - can just hope.
- The posted user guide
cautions about this.
- NSSE/AAUDE site has a public table showing N of
responses by institution by year by base vs. not
- Convert self-reported grades to a common response scale for the three years by collapsing scales
for '03 and '04. Done on an individual respondent basis. We threw away discriminations in '03
and '04 - perhaps not wise.
- The posted SAS dataset and Excel assign separate names to items with different scales, but do
not convert to a common scale.
- Convert ACT's to SAT totals when only ACT was reported for a respondent. Otherwise use SAT. We
used ACT's national concordance to do the conversions; unavailable on web.
Questions to IR@colorado.edu