BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Results from the Idaho State Board of Education’s 2021 Postsecondary Student Experience Survey are now available on an interactive data dashboard posted on the State Board’s website.
The Board launched the survey last fall in response to allegations that some students had negative experiences on Idaho public higher education campuses because of their personal beliefs and viewpoints, and to measure the overall climate of freedom of speech.
The survey was sent to nearly 55,000 students at all eight institutions and more than 8,500 students responded – a 16% response rate. The Postsecondary Student Experience Survey Dashboard displays aggregate responses, ensuring that individual students are not identifiable and anonymity is protected.
Because student participation was voluntary and the survey was administered in a way that enabled all students who wanted to respond a chance to do so, results are not representative of the student populations at the institutions.
“We wanted a frank assessment from students and we felt they would be more willing to participate in the survey if they were assured that their identity was protected,” Board President Kurt Liebich said. “Overall, the results reflect well on our institutions, but there are some areas where we need to do more work in order to ensure our students feel comfortable enough to express their viewpoints, participate in class, and engage in various campus discussions with professors and peers.”
The Postsecondary Student Experience Survey Dashboard has much more detail than the early results released late last year, meaning users can explores results by various student demographics and by institution.
Key takeaways from the survey include:
- A supermajority of students across all institutions and all levels (undergraduate and graduate) report positive experiences on campus. They feel like they belong, that they are treated with respect and that they are valued. They feel safe to express their personal beliefs without negative consequences and never or rarely experience shaming or bullying when they shared their personal beliefs or views.
- A majority of students across all institutions and all levels (undergraduate and graduate) report never, or rarely feeing pressure to accept or affirm beliefs they found offensive.
- A sizable minority of students across all institutions and all levels (undergraduate and graduate) indicate they at least occasionally have negative experiences. The share of students reporting negative experiences varies by demographic characteristics, mainly political view, gender and age (based on statistical modeling).
The dashboard includes a detailed description of the methodology used to conduct the survey.
“The Board and our institutions presidents are committed to protecting and improving academic freedom and freedom of speech on our college and university campuses,” Liebich said. “When I became Board president last spring, I said we had to get beyond inflammatory social media posts and actually measure the climate around freedom of speech on our campuses. With this survey we now have something concrete to talk about. The Board and the institution presidents will discuss the results later this week during our regular Board meeting at Boise State University and begin planning next steps based on what we’ve learned.”