Student Voices: Findings

  1. Challenges around learning in a second language
  2. Comparing the University of Minnesota to your previous school
  3. Interacting with University of Minnesota professors and staff
  4. What are the major problems you see for international students who are adjusting to being at the University?
  5. What would help international students adjust more easily during their first year?

Comparing the University of Minnesota to your previous school

Overview and Key Findings

Respondents were asked several multiple choice questions that compared the University of Minnesota with their previous home institution in terms of class participation, attendance, amount of homework, and number of tests. Students were further asked whether or not they were familiar with the types of tests and assignments they encountered during their first semester at the University of Minnesota. Although the responses indicate differences on all of these dimensions, only class participation emerged in the qualitative data as a major challenge for international students.

2.1 Comparing class participation

Forty percent of respondents reported that less participation was expected at their previous educational institutions (see table 4).

Table 4. Expectations for participating in class

Answer %
In my previous school, less participation was expected than here. 40%
Expectations are about the same. 32%
In my previous school, more participation was expected than here. 18%
Other 1%
No answer 1%

2.2 Comparing attendance

Fifty-nine percent of respondents reported coming from schools where attendance was required (see Table 5). However, attendance was not identified in the open-ended questions as an adjustment challenge.

Table 5. Attendance policy

Answer %
In my previous school, attending classes was always/usually required. 59%
There’s no major difference between here and my previous school. 20%
In my previous school, attending classes was always/usually optional. 11%
Other 1%
No answer 1%
Non completed 8%

2.3 Comparing the amount of homework and types of assignments

Nearly half of the respondents (48%) reported having less homework in their previous schools (see Table 6), and 41% reported that they were often not familiar with the types of assignments they received in their first semester at the University of Minnesota (see Table 7).

Table 6. Amount of homework

Answer %
In my previous school, there was less homework. 48%
In my previous school, there was more homework. 20%
It’s about the same 20%
Other 2%
No answer 2%
Non completed 8%

Table 7. Types of assignments

Answer %
In my first semester here, I was usually familiar
with the types of assignments given in classes.
47%
In my first semester here, I was often NOT
familiar with the types of assignments given in
classes.
41%
Other 1%
No answer 2%
Non completed 8%

2.4 Comparing the number and types of tests

Student responses to questions about the number and types of tests are shown in Tables 8 and 9. Nearly half of the respondents (49%) had fewer tests in their previous schools, and 34% said that they were often not familiar with the types of tests given at the University of Minnesota during their first semester.

Table 8. Number of tests

Answer %
In my previous school, there were fewer tests. 49%
In my previous school, there were more tests. 18%
It’s about the same 22%
Other 1%
No answer 2%
Non completed 8%

Table 9. Types of tests

Answer %
In my first semester here, I was usually
familiar with the types of tests given in classes.
56%
In my first semester here, I was often NOT
familiar with the types of tests given in classes.
34%
Other 0%
No answer 2%
Non completed 8%

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Report Content

  1. Abstract
  2. Background
  3. Methods
  4. Findings
  5. Discussion
  6. Recommendations
  7. Limitations and Directions for Future Research
  8. References

Contact

Beth Isensee
Director of Student Engagement, International Student and Scholar Services
612-626-7369
isen0021@umn.edu