Institutional Research

Special Reports

Periodic Special Reports Prepared by IR Staff

Reports Focusing on Persistence and Retention

The Virtues of Giving CSUN's Entering Freshmen an Early Start: Initial Findings from the Campus's Summer 2012 and Summer 2013 Experiences

This report examines the initial experiences of the first two cohorts of first time freshmen at Cal State Northridge who were subject to the CSU's new Early Start requirements .  Given its timing, most of the report deals with the experiences of the Fall 2012 entrants.  After a brief overview of the various summer programs offered during Summer 2012 or Summer 2013, the report describes similarities and differences in the background and initial college experiences of the Fall 2012 freshmen traversing the four major summer paths identified.  Differences in these groups’ Fall- and Spring-term coursework in writing and mathematics are examined, as are several year-end performance measures (e.g., cumulative units earned, GE requirements completed, year-end CSUN GPA, and persistence).  The summer experiences of the Fall 2013 freshman entrants are also summarized, along with their enrollment in Fall-term courses dealing with writing and mathematics.

Freshman Persistence: Recent Trends and Remaining Challenges

This report examines the one-year continuation rates of the first time freshmen entering Cal State Northridge during the last decade from several vantage points.  It begins by detailing the freshman continuation rates in question and contrasts them with comparable graduation rates and equivalent persistence rates for students entering CSUN as upper division transfer students. After assessing the stability of recent freshman continuation rates in the light of progressive changes in the size and composition of various entering cohorts, the report examines differences in the persistence of key student subgroups, including those differentiated by anticipated major, Pell Grant status, residence in campus housing, gender, and racial and ethnic background. Highlighted throughout this third section is the importance for subgroup persistence of students’ preparation in writing and mathematics at entry.  The report concludes with a few pointers to areas deserving particular attention in ongoing efforts to raise the one-year continuation rates of CSUN’s entering freshmen.

Undergraduate Persistence at Cal State Northridge During the Last Decade

This brief report examines undergraduate persistence at CSUN during the academic years falling within the 1999-2010 period.  Three aspects of persistence are examined: the number of baccalaureate degree recipients and their time to degree, the one-year continuation rates of first time freshmen and upper division transfer students, and, finally, the graduation rates of both types of entrants.  In each case, separate figures are presented for students from " traditionally underserved" and better served backgrounds. In order to set the stage, the report begins with a review of key characteristics of both entering and continuing undergraduates.

Student Success at Cal State Northridge: A Comparative Perspective on the Persistence of Selected Undergraduate Groups

This report examines the success of selected student subgroups at Cal State Northridge from two comparative perspectives: their relative success at this University vis-à-vis each other and their relative success in comparison to similar students attending other CSU campuses. These last involve comparing CSUN persistence patterns to those for the CSU as a whole and for campuses in one of two groupings: other Large campuses and other Los Angeles Basin campuses.  The student subgroups considered differ by gender or racial and ethnic background.

Retention of Undergraduates Entering Cal State Northridge During the 1999-2008 Period

This report briefly examines the one-year continuation rates and three- or six-year graduation rates of selected cohorts of undergraduate students entering Cal State Northridge in Fall terms during the 1999-2008 period

Persistence at Cal State Northridge in Comparative Perspective: Cross-Campus Performance on Selected Cornerstones Accountability Indicators

This report focuses on two measures of student success: one-year continuation rates and likely graduates.  They are examined from two comparative perspectives: CSUN’s performance vis-à-vis the CSU system as a whole and vis-à-vis the 21 other individual campuses considered.  The latter includes CSUN’s relative ranking on any given indicator and its performance compared to the averages for several campus groupings differentiated by academic calendar, student enrollment, and geographic location

One-Year Continuation Rates Among First Time Freshmen Entering in Fall 2005 and Participating in First Year Experience Programs

Although University 100 has been offered for a number of years, it was coupled with two new initiatives in Fall 2005: a small living-learning community for selected students living on-campus; and the Freshman Connection, a program in which students take one or more courses in common, along with University 100. A year has now passed since the new initiatives were launched; thus, it makes sense to take a preliminary look at the one-year continuation rates of students who were and were not involved in various aspects of the freshmen experience program during 2005-06.

One-Year Continuation Rates of CSUN Freshmen Planning Majors Housed in Different Colleges (Fall 2000-05 entry cohorts)

This brief report examines the one-year continuation rates of the first time freshmen entering Cal State Northridge during the 2000-2005 period. The tables and figures shown delineate differences in the continuation rates of freshmen with plans to major in disciplines housed in various colleges.

Varsity Athletics at Cal State Northridge: Does Participation Foster Persistence?

This brief report takes a look at one-year continuation rates for the campus's three most recent cohorts of freshmen athletes and examines a few of their entry characteristics. The data reviewed suggest that students participating in varsity athletics are more likely than other groups of freshmen to return to CSUN for a second year of study.

NSSE Reports

Students' Commitment to Their Studies at Cal State Northridge: Spring 2011 Responses to the National Survey of Student Engagement

This report uses the views of the CSUN curriculum articulated by those freshmen and seniors participating in the Spring 2011 administration of the NSSE to describe major features of the university's upper- and lower-division curriculum. It also examines significant differences between these features and those found at two groups of comparison institutions: other CSU campuses and other primarily non-residential, four-year institutions participating in the survey administration.

Engaging Features of the Upper- and Lower-Division Curriculum at CSUN: Evidence From Recent Administrations of the NSSE

Common strands in two sets of recent responses to the National Survey of Student Engagement (2007 & 2009) serve to highlight engaging features of the upper- and lower-division curricua at CSUN.  Two criteria were used to pinpoint curricular strengths: elements of engagement identified by at least three-quarters of the respondents are considered to be so widely recognized that they are integral to the curriculum, while greater reliance on selected practices than is evident at a set of similar comparison institutions served to identify distinct(ive) features of the curriculum.

Students' Commitment to Their Studies at Cal State Northridge: Spring 2007 Responses to the National Survey of Student Engagement

This report uses the views of the CSUN curriculum articulated by those freshmen and seniors participating in the Spring 2007 administration of the NSSE to describe major features of the university's upper- and lower-division curriculum. It also examines significant differences between these features and those found at two groups of institutions: other CSU campuses and large, primarily non-residential, four-year institutions. Finally, the report examines differences in background and engagement for CSUN respondents differing by selected characteristics (e.g., parental education and racial and ethnic background, entry status and current class level, and gender).

Learning Habits Reports

Transitions During the Freshman and Sophomore Years of College: Year Two of CSUN's Learning Habits Project

Since the Learning Habits Project was launched in Fall 2007, we have gathered responses from approximately 225 students to eight-ten end-of-term surveys, each of which posed several open-ended questions, and have conducted in-depth interviews with most participants during their first and third years of college.This report begins the process of summarizes the end-of-term survey data provided by the Fall 2007 and Fall 2008 freshman participants during their first two years at CSUN.  In addition to an overview of the larger Project, the report describes a range of participant characteristics and examines their views on a range of topics, including the following:: factors responsible for their exceptional learning experience;s and college-induced changes in their appoaches to writing, reading, critical thinking, and quantitative reasoning assignments.

Freshmen Views of Their Initial Learning Experiences At CSUN: An Abbreviated Overview of Selected Findings From Year One of the Learning Habits Project

Launched in Fall 2007, the “Learning Habits Project” is designed to track, over a four-to-six-year period, several groups of newly enrolled students likely to succeed at CSUN.  Its purpose is to gain insight into the characteristics and practices of the most effective among them – that is, we seek to find out about their learning habits.  This abbreviated version of a fuller summary report describing the survey data collected during the 2007-08 academic year includes virtually all of the text and tables from the full report, but excludes the lengthy appendices summarizing students’ individual responses.  The full report is available on request from the Office of Institutional Research.

Other Reports

Characteristics and Views of Faculty at Cal State Northridge: A Comparative Perspective Based on Findings from the Spring 2008 HERI Survey

This lengthy report summarizes the responses of the full- and part-time faculty members at CSUN who participated in the Spring 2008 faculty survey periodically administered by the Higher Education Research Insitute at UCLA.  The responses of both the full- and part-time faculty subsets are compared with those of similar respondents at other public, four-year, colleges.  In addition, the responses of the full- and part-time respondents from Northridge are compared with each other, with the statistically significant differences highlighted in the text.  Finally, two sets of subgroup comparisons relying exclusively on the CSUN data are summarized: differences between tenure track assistant professors and tenured faculty respondents (i.e., full and associate professors) and differences between recently hired and longer term adjunct respondents. (Although the full report is over 150 pages long, an overview of procedures and findings is presented on the first 21 pages.)

A Profile of the First Time Full-Time Freshmen Entering Cal State Northridge in Fall 2013: Key Findings From the CIRP Freshman Survey

During the Summer 2013 orientation sessions held for incoming freshmen, an hour was set aside for these new students to complete the comprehensive Freshman Survey. Following a brief overview of major findings, this report summarizes several sets of data: the responses of the prospective CSUN freshmen to a range of survey questions, the sometimes dramatic longitudinal changes in their responses during the 2007-13 period, and the characteristics and attitudes of the first-generation college students among the Northridge respondents.  An appendix summarizes data collection procedures and assesses the representativeness of the response sample.  Along with the CSUN data, Tables 1-4 present the weighted responses of approximately 36,500 students at 47 other public four-year colleges. These comparative data inform the discussion of the overall survey responses.

Factors Affecting International Student Persistence at Cal State Northridge: A Preliminary Investigation

This brief report examines a number of entry characteristics that may affect the initial persistence of international freshmen entering Cal State Northridge in one of three recent terms: Fall 2007, Fall 2008, and Fall 2009.  The following factors were examined as possible predictors of persistence: country of origin, TOEFL scores and whether they were submitted or waived, SAT scores, ELM and EPT scores, proficiency at entry, and anticipated major. In addition, several characteristics of the unusually large number of international freshmen admitted in Spring 2012 are summarized, with an eye towards evaluating these students’ likely persistence.

Factors Affecting the Success of Freshmen From CSUN’s Top Feeder High Schools

Initially, this report identifies the 34 local public high schools sending the largest number of freshmen to CSUN during the five most recent Fall terms (2003-07). The bulk of it, however, is devoted to summarizing the outcome of a series of regression analyses examining the degree to which a range of factors contribute to the "success" (i.e., persistence into the second year of college) of those CSUN freshmen who graduated from these top feeder high schools during the 2003-06 period. Three sorts of factors are examined: student background, high school preparation, and initial performance at CSUN.

Characteristics and Success of CSUN’s Hispanic Students: An Overview

Much of this report summarizes CSUN’s success, during recent years, in retaining its Hispanic students. Several characteristics of the Hispanic students entering the university last Fall are also described in an effort to round out this brief overview. In each of the attached tables, the students stemming from Hispanic backgrounds are compared to two other groups: students stemming from non-Hispanic minority backgrounds (i.e., African American, Asian, and Native American) and those identifying themselves as white. First time freshmen and transfer students are distinguished throughout.

CSUN's Writing Proficiency Examination: Bump or Hurdle On the Road to Graduation?

This report examines the degree to which the Writing Proficiency Examination (WPE) hinders or facilitates CSUN students’ timely progress towards their baccalaureate degrees.