Level of Academic Challenge (LAC)
What does NSSE have to say about the Level of Academic Challenge (LAC)?
“Challenging intellectual and creative work is central to student learning and collegiate quality. Colleges and universities promote high levels of student achievement by emphasizing the importance of academic effort and setting high expectations for student performance.”
What types of questions determine the Level of Academic Challenge Score?
- Preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, rehearsing, etc. related to academic program)
- Number of assigned textbooks, books, or book-length packs of course readings
- Number of written papers or reports of 20 pages or more
- Number of written papers or reports of between 5 and 19 pages
- Number of written papers or reports of fewer than 5 pages
- Coursework emphasizing analysis of the basic elements of an idea, experience, or theory
- Coursework emphasizing synthesis and organizing ideas, information, or experiences into new, more complex interpretations and relationships
- Coursework emphasizing the making of judgments about the value of information, arguments, or methods
- Coursework emphasizing application of theories or concepts to practical problems or in new situations
- Working harder than you thought you could to meet an instructor’s standards or expectations
- Campus environment emphasizing time studying and on academic work
How can Wofford improve by examining these results?
The institution is committed to using NSSE data to improve the overall education experience of students, not just to pat itself on the back. Here are a few things the college has learned (or decided to investigate further) based on results from the individual questions that comprise the LAC index.
- Wofford first-year and senior students both reported that they “often” worked harder than they thought they could to meet an instructor’s standards or expectations.
- Wofford students reported spending an average of 11-20 hours per week preparing for class.