Academic journal article Journal of International Students

A Comparative Study of Student Engagement, Satisfaction, and Academic Success among International and American Students

Academic journal article Journal of International Students

A Comparative Study of Student Engagement, Satisfaction, and Academic Success among International and American Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between student engagement, student satisfaction, and the academic success of international and American students using 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data. It was found that international students scored slightly higher than American students on enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment/institutional emphases during their senior year benchmarks. Further, international and American students similarly evaluated their entire educational experience at this institution between good and excellent; however, American students evaluated it slightly higher than international students. Additionally, academic success measured by grades was between B+ and A- for both groups of students; however, international students evaluated it slightly higher than American students. Finally, it was found that the best predictors of satisfaction with the entire experience at this institution and academic success measured by grades were the five benchmarks of effective educational practice: level of academic challenge, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences, supportive campus environment/quality of relationships, and supportive campus environment/institutional emphasis.

Keywords: higher education, international students, student engagement

The number of international students on U.S. campuses has increased from 723,277 in 2010-2011 to 764,495 in 2011-2012 to 819,644 in 2012-2013 (Institute of International Education, 2014). The value these students bring to US institutions and communities is undeniable: increased diversity on campuses and communities, exposing American students to the globalized workforce they are likely to face after graduation, preparing the next generation of effective leaders, and bringing in different perspectives and beliefs, among others. Furthermore, it is critical to note that international students bring a significant financial contribution to the U.S. economy, nearly $24 billion in 2012-2013 (Institute of International Education, 2014). To provide international students the best educational experiences in the U.S., it is critical for practitioners, administrators, and faculty to learn how these students engage in various campus and classroom activities. In addition, it is important to know how international students' engagement influences their satisfaction and academic success.

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between student engagement, student satisfaction, and academic success of international and American students using National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data. Specifically, it investigated how institutional type (classification and control) and critical mass (percentage of international students and academic major) affect student engagement (represented by five NSSE benchmarks) and how student engagement affects student satisfaction and academic success. The following research questions guided this study:

1. Do institutional type and critical mass affect student engagement?

2. To what extent can student engagement predict student satisfaction with the entire educational experience at this institution during their senior year?

3. To what extent can student engagement predict academic success during their senior year?

Theoretical Frameworks

The theoretical frameworks for this study are threefold. First, Astin's (1999) Student Involvement Theory was utilized to frame the significance of student engagement, such as interacting with other students, interacting with faculty members, interacting with administration/staff, and participating in extracurricular activities, on student outcomes. Second, Pascarella's General Model for Assessing Change (1985) was applied to examine the intersection of student background, and precollege traits, as well as structural and organizational characteristics of institutions on student outcomes. …

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