2008 Comparing NSSE and FSSE Results:
Student and Faculty Expectations

Reproduce illustration using Course-Based data

The FSSE survey asks faculty members how much time students are expected to spend preparing for their selected course and how much theybelieve students actually spend preparing for their course. In comparison, the NSSE survey asks students to report how much time they spend preparing for a class.
NSSE and FSSE results reveal a considerable gap in what faculty members expect students to spend and how much time students actually report spending preparing for class. On average, faculty members expect students to study about six hours per week for a single class, but students tend to report nearly half that amount of time (a little over three hours per week per class). Although faculty members have higher expectations, their estimation of the actual time students spend preparing for class is very close to students’ self-reported data.
The gap fluctuates when disciplinary area is considered. For example, faculty members in the Physical Sciences expect more per-class study time than any other subject area, and Biological/Life Sciences and Social Science faculty members slightly underestimate how much time students spend per week preparing for class. 

Average Hours per Week Students Spend Preparing for Class by Academic Discipline


The same pattern exists for the “Typical student” version of the FSSE survey. On average, faculty members expect a typical student across all their courses to spend more than seven hours per week preparing for class, whereas students report spending nearly half that amount of time. Again, gaps fluctuate by disciplinary area. (Please note averages are slightly higher due to survey design).   

Average Hours per Week Students Spend Preparing for Class by Academic Discipline