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External Assessments


To better understand how Cal Poly students learn, we utilize external, national assessments as a source of information. By including external assessments as part of our overall plan, we can see how our students are comparing with university students across the country and to deepen our understanding of our students' achievements and identify areas of improvement.

Surveys of Engagement

Every three years, Cal Poly participates in a national series of surveys that provide indirect measures² of student and faculty engagement. These three surveys are as follows:

  Audience Survey Launch
Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE)
  • First-time first-year students
  • New transfer students
  • Older/returning students
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • First-time first-year students (the same students who took the BCSSE the prior summer)
  • Seniors
Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE)
  • Instructional Faculty

Cal Poly compares these results with the direct assessments that take place at the program, college, or university level and to support additional academic, tutoring, or advising programs that are offered.

NSSE and FSSE: 2023-2024 -- More information coming soon. 

¹ A "direct measure" is one that requires students to demonstrate a certain level of proficiency for a skill or particular learning outcome.

² An "indirect measure" is one that asks students to self-report either (1) how well they they they have mastered a skill or (2) how often they engage in a particular learning opportunity.

Last updated: 6/26/2024

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