22 SES 02 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
There are many studies that show us evidences of the positive effects that certain stimulating educational practices provided by higher education institutions present to students' psychosocial growth, particularly those that arrange students with the opportunities for effective academic and social engagement (Astin, 1993; Kuh, Schuh, Whitt, Andreas, Lyons, Strange, Krehbiel, & MacKay, 1991; Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, Whitt, & Associates, 2005; Kuh, Kinzie, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
In this line of research, it has been given emphasis to students' engagement, mainly because it has been shown that the more a student gets involved in enriching educational activities, the more he learns and grows (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Additionally, several studies reveal that students' engagement also appears to be closely attached to academically and socially stimulating or engaging contexts (Astin, 1993; Kuh, 2008; Kuh et al., 1991, 2005, 2006).
Thus, student engagement is not only regarded as the time and effort devoted by students to educational activities considered beneficial for their development, but it also refers to what institutions can do to encourage or induce students to participate at these educational activities (Kuh, 2008, 2009).
There is a set of practices and educational situations viewed as highly engaging and stimulating, which can be grouped into five main areas: institutional environment (intellectually stimulating, inclusive and supportive), involvement (through opportunities to engage in meaningful and enriching educational activities, both curricular as extracurricular), interaction with teachers (frequent contact between students and teachers, prompt feedback about teaching-learning situations, provision of social support, use of active learning methodologies), interaction with peers (supportive relationships and cooperation among students, collaborative learning situations, joint participation in curricular and extracurricular) and institutional policies (coordination between institutional goals and educational practices).
There are several studies reporting that these "engaging" practices are positively associated with a set of desirable outcomes: student satisfaction, higher levels of academic performance, personal, social and intellectual gains (Astin, 1993; Kuh, 2001, 2008, 2009; Kuh et al., 1991, 2005, 2006; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Moreover, other studies are showing that the more students get involved in curricular and extracurricular academic tasks, the more positive become their perceptions about institutional environment, interactions with teachers and peers (Cicognani, Pirini, Keyes, Joshanloo, Rostami, & Nosratabadi, 2008; Elkins, Forrester, & Noel-Elkins, 2011).).
Guided by these assumptions, this study sought to measure student involvement in academic and extracurricular activities and evaluate its effect on students' perceptions about: the institutional environment, interaction with teachers, interaction with peers and gains obtained from college experience.
The ultimate and long term goal of this ongoing research project is to enhance the quality of institutional educational practices within a broader European project whose framework started by Bologna.
Astin, A. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Carini, R., & Kuh, G. (2003). Tomorrow's teachers: Do they engage in the 'right things' during college? Phi Delta Kappa, 84(5), 391-398. Cicognani, E., Pirini, C., Keyes, C., Joshanloo, M., Rostami, R., & Nosratabadi, M. (2008). Social participation and social well being. Social Indicators Research, 89, 97-112. Elkins, D., Forrester, S., & Noel-Elkins, A. (2011). Students' perceived sense of campus community: The influence of out-of-class experiences. College Student Journal, 45 (1), 105-121. Kuh, G. (2001). Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the National Survey of Student Engagement. Change, 33 (3), 10-17. Kuh, G. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Kuh, G. (2009). What students affairs professionals need to know about student engagement. Journal of College Student Development, 50 (6), 683-706. Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Buckley, J., Bridges, B., & Hayek, J. (2006, November). What matters to student success: a review of the literature. Comissioned report for the national symposium on postsecondary student success: Spearheading a dialog on student success. Washington. Kuh, G., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J., Whitt, E., & Associates (2005). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Kuh, G., Schuh, J., Whitt, E., Andreas, R., Lyons, J., Strange, C., Krehbiel, L., & MacKay, K. (1991). Involving colleges: Successful approaches to fostering student learning and development outside the classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Pascarella, E., & Terenzini, P. (2005). How college affects students: a third decade of research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Silva, S. (2012). Dinâmicas de envolvimento e de desenvolvimento dos estudantes do ensino superior. Dissertação de doutoramento apresentada à Faculdade de Psicologia e de Ciências da Educação da Universidade de Coimbra.
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