Using surveys of student engagement to understand and support first-time entering students at a university of technology




student engagement, student retention, student success, first time entering students, university of technology


Surveys of student engagement are receiving increased attention across the whole world, because data generated assist educational institutions in increasing student retention and improving student success. These surveys raise issues worthy of consideration particularly by institutions that might be interested in using survey data to develop their curriculum and to help their students succeed. The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the significant role of student engagement surveys in the development of mechanisms to understand and effectively respond to the needs of first-year students entering university. Drawing from Astin’s involvement theory (1984) and the Inputs-Environments-Outcomes (I-E-O) framework (1991), we argue that a thoughtful and innovative use of student engagement survey data to predict readiness for university has a tremendous potential to improve success through data-informed interventions. The study utilised data on first-time entering students who participated in the Beginning University Survey of Student Engagement (BUSSE). This study used a quantitative research approach. The major findings reveal differences in the frequencies of student-staff interactionand how students’ experiences and expected academic difficulties varied across their gender, social class, and first-generation status. The frequencies of the nine subscales or engagement indicators of the BUSSE provide information regarding high school experiences with quantitative reasoning and learning strategies as well as students’ expectations of a university. The results also provide an overview of the calibre of incoming first-year students and their perceived level of academic preparedness

Author Biographies

Muntuwenkosi Chili, Vaal University of Technology

PhD Chemistry

Centre for Academic Development

Jeremiah Madzimure, Vaal University of Technology

DTech Business

Centre for Academic Development


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How to Cite

Chili, M., & Madzimure, J. (2022). Using surveys of student engagement to understand and support first-time entering students at a university of technology. ScienceRise: Pedagogical Education, (6(51), 4–12.



Pedagogical Education