I recently heard someone say, “Schools don’t lack for data. However, they often lack the ability to take action with their data.” Do you agree? As you gather student feedback data on your campus, I encourage you to look for survey tools that are going to give you data that is prioritized and actionable.
Student satisfaction surveys from Ruffalo Noel Levitz are one example of an actionable survey tool. These surveys gather student perceptions of the current experience at your institution and prioritize the findings. Many institutions assess student satisfaction on a regular basis with these tools. College student satisfaction data can serve as the “student voice” for informed decision making for student success efforts (i.e. retention improvements), strategic planning, and accreditation purposes.
Prioritization drives action
The college student satisfaction data from the RNL Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) are prioritized based on two types of scores students assign to each survey item:
– importance scores (a level of expectation)
– satisfaction scores (student perceptions of their current experience)
The survey uncovers priority items for improvement by identifying areas where students express a high level of importance along with a low level of satisfaction, based on national norms. Survey items measured in this way are actionable by changing institutional policies and procedures, immediately or in the near future, and by adjusting student perceptions.
To take action, you also need the following:
- Supportive leadership
- Budget dollars (but there are things that can be done with a small investment)
- Individuals who will take responsibility for new initiatives
- Additional direction from students–through focus groups or other qualitative methods–to be sure you fully understand what the item on the survey means on your campus.