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Frequently Asked Questions

Student Satisfaction Inventory™

Survey Ordering/Pricing Information

How long does it take for paper-and-pencil surveys to arrive on campus once I place my order?

What are the costs for the survey?

I have leftover surveys from the last time I administered, can I re-use them?

Implementing the surveys on campus

How long does it take to complete the survey?

When do most institutions administer the survey?

How do I select my survey sample size?

Does Ruffalo Noel Levitz print my 10 additional supplemental items onto the paper-and-pencil survey?

Are students required to fill in their Social Security Number on the paper-and-pencil version of the Student Satisfaction Inventory?

Survey Processing/Report Delivery

Where do I send the completed inventories for scoring?

How long will it take Ruffalo Noel Levitz to deliver my campus report after receiving my surveys for processing?

Why assess student satisfaction and student engagement?

How does assessing student satisfaction differ from assessing student engagement?

Do you need to assess both student satisfaction and student engagement?

How often should you conduct student satisfaction and student engagement assessments?

 

Answers

How long does it take for paper-and-pencil surveys to arrive on campus once I place my order?

Materials are generally shipped by the next business day and should arrive on campus within five business days. Note: At your request, we can ship the materials via overnight or two-day express mail, payable by your institution.

What are the costs for the survey?

The per-survey fee is based on the number of surveys you order. The only other required fees are a processing and set-up fee and a five percent handling fee. All other materials are optional.

Click to check prices/order.

I have leftover surveys from the last time I administered, can I re-use them?

Yes, you will just need to pay the processing and set-up fee again plus the five percent handling fee. Please include an order form when you return your completed surveys for processing.

How long does it take to complete the survey?

Students and campus personnel need approximately 30 minutes to complete the paper-and-pencil Student Satisfaction Inventory, Adult Student Priorities Survey, and Institutional Priorities Survey. The web versions of these surveys take approximately 20 minutes to complete.

When do most institutions administer the survey?

Use of the surveys is appropriate at any time during the academic year. However, we suggest you avoid surveying during intensive testing times (e.g. mid-terms and finals) or during the first 3-4 weeks of the term (so entering students have time to become familiar with your campus before responding to the survey items). In general, we recommend administering the Ruffalo Noel Levitz surveys during similar timeframes during the academic year, or within a few weeks. This ensures that data from multiple instruments (especially the combination of the SSI and the IPS) will be gathered from a nearly identical campus environment. You may also want to plan to survey at the same time period over multiple years for appropriate benchmarking. Here are some additional guidelines:

Fall surveying. Among the advantages of fall surveying: more entering students can be surveyed before attrition takes effect, while decisions to stay or leave are still being formed; and you'll have time to act on the survey findings during the same academic year.

Spring surveying. Among the advantages of spring surveying: students have more experiences on which to base their responses; and you can use the late spring and summer for follow-up planning.

How do I select my survey sample size?

We recommend that you survey a representative sample of your overall population. You may also determine that you want to survey just a targeted population, such as just first year-students, or just evening students; this is acceptable, but keep in mind the survey results are only applicable for the targeted group of students.

The number of surveys you distribute is based on your population size and chosen administration method. Surveys completed in a captive, in-classroom setting have the best response rate, typically 80-90 percent. Surveys distributed and collected in the classroom, but completed on the students' own time, typically have a response rate of 40-50 percent. Paper surveys distributed through other methods have lower response rates. Mail-outs of the paper surveys are not recommended (remember that the surveys cannot be folded).

For online administrations, we recommend inviting your entire student population to complete the survey. With reminder messages, general publicity through other communication vehicles, and an incentive, online response rates average around 30 percent.

Please see our implementation guidelines for further details on selecting your sample.

Does Ruffalo Noel Levitz print my 10 additional supplemental items onto the paper-and-pencil survey?

To keep turnaround times quick and costs low, Ruffalo Noel Levitz does not print the custom items on the paper-and-pencil surveys. Instead, we ask that you simply list your items on a separate sheet of paper and number them accordingly. This also applies for the campus-defined demographic items. It is not necessary to inform us of these items you include in the customized sections because results for these sections will be identified by item number only in your Campus Report. (However, if you do provide us with a copy, we will keep it on file for future reference.)

For web versions, your survey account will be customized with your campus-defined items and should be provided to Ruffalo Noel Levitz at least one week in advance of when you want the survey available for your students. Contact Julie Bryant of Ruffalo Noel Levitz for more details on how to set up your online account.

Are students required to fill in their Social Security Number on the paper-and-pencil version of the Student Satisfaction Inventory?

The Social Security Number is an optional response item on the paper-and-pencil version of the Student Satisfaction Inventory (it is not required on the online version). If completed by the student, it provides some additional research options for the institution. If it is not completed, it does not affect the rest of the survey responses in any way. We realize there is an increased sensitivity among students today when it comes to referencing their Social Security Number, and we believe students should have every right to leave the SSN blank if that is their preference. The only place the SSN appears on our reports is if you purchase the optional raw data with your results.

Where do I send the completed inventories for scoring?

Send all completed paper inventories to Ruffalo Noel Levitz at our Iowa office: 1025 Kirkwood Parkway SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404. To ensure that your inventories can be scored, please do not fold or staple them. To avoid delays, remove any inserts and make sure the inventories are all facing the same direction. Be sure to include your Scoring Request Form or a cover memo with your completed inventories. Package separately any batches you want us to score separately and clearly label each batch. We recommend shipping via a trackable method to ensure completed surveys are not lost in transit.

No shipping is required for web versions of our surveys. Simply coordinate with Ruffalo Noel Levitz to close your web survey and the data set will automatically be transferred to our processing center.

How long will it take Ruffalo Noel Levitz to deliver my campus report after receiving my surveys for processing?

Your scored results will be available approximately seven business days after we receive your completed surveys. Results are delivered in electronic documents posted to a password-protected FTP site. You will be notified by email with a link to the results when they are ready to access. Paper copies of the results are available for an additional fee and are generally delivered within 10-12 business days after we receive your completed surveys.

How does assessing student satisfaction differ from assessing student engagement?

Both types of assessments provide complementary venues for a more complete picture of the undergraduate experience which is central to promoting student learning, success, and educational attainment.

Engagement assessments show how students invest their time, the effort they devote to various academic and co-curricular endeavors and the resulting gains they feel they achieve. Conversely, student satisfaction assessments look at satisfaction and the importance students place on various services, programs and experiences and the relative degree of satisfaction that results from their transactions with them while assessing a representative sample of students across the institution. Student satisfaction assessments pinpoint areas within the institution that need immediate attention.

Student satisfaction and engagement assessments share some common characteristics as well. First, students regard the items on both types of assessments as relevant and worthy of their response. Second, both examine important elements of the student experience with engagement assessments focusing more narrowly on the academic / classroom dimensions. Student satisfaction assessments generally focus more broadly on the total experience by capturing students' views of instruction, advising, registration, campus services, academic support, etc. Third, both instruments yield information designed to illuminate and improve student and institutional performance. Student retention results from high levels of student engagement and satisfaction. Hence, the instruments complement one another in many important ways.

One point of difference: engagement assessments at four-year institutions are targeted for first-year and fourth-year students. Satisfaction assessments are typically administered across a representative sample of the entire population, including first, second, third, and fourth-year students.

Do you need to assess both student satisfaction and student engagement?

Assessing both student satisfaction and student engagement is important in order to inform and guide an institution's retention efforts. Both types of assessments will provide timely, systematic, and relevant information on various facets of the undergraduate experience; therefore they both play an important role in crafting retention systems that improve student and institutional performance.

How often should you conduct student satisfaction and student engagement assessments?

You may want to consider conducting student satisfaction and student engagement assessments on an every other year basis. Many institutions conduct each assessment on alternative years. This would allow you to devote the appropriate time and resources to understanding the results and it would allow you to make improvements on campus before the next assessment period. 

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