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Students' Sense of Mattering

This assessment project surveyed a cohort of students’ perceptions of mattering to the NDSU Community using the University Mattering Scale (UMUM-15). Year four of data collection is scheduled for the fall of 2017. Reports on results will be released periodically when they are available.

Key Findings

  • New NDSU students generally felt they mattered to the NDSU community, although there were some students who did not feel like they mattered to the NDSU community.
  • The University Mattering Scale (UMUM-15) showed good reliability and performed as expected.
  • New transfer students and new students who lived off campus on average had lower perceptions of mattering than new non-transfer students and new students who lived on campus.
  • Perceptions of mattering to the NDSU Community were significant predictors of retention. Even after controlling for high school GPA, students with higher perceptions of mattering were more likely to be retained from fall-to-fall.
  • Increasing the sense of mattering to the NDSU Community for all new students has the potential to increase fall-to-fall retention by 4%.
  • Students who had low high school GPAs, low perceptions of mattering to the NDSU Community, and were Pell-eligible had odds of attrition 16 times higher than those that did not meet all three of those characteristics.
  • For continuing juniors, students of color were significantly more likely to report thinking about transferring to a different university / college and to report thinking about dropping out of school altogether than white students.
  • A surprising number of continuing junior students mentioned “large classes” when asked for a time when they felt like they did not matter. Ensuring students feel like they matter when enrolled in large classes should be an important priority.
  • “People on campus smile when they see me” was the top positive predictor of students’ sense of mattering to the NDSU Community for continuing juniors.

Practical Ways to Support Students’ Sense of Mattering

  • Learn students' names and use them.
  • Help students get involved at NDSU and make connections through participating on a team, in a group, club, or organization.
  • Show students that you care what happens to them. Never be too busy to make someone feel they matter.
  • Be proud of students' accomplishments and saddened by their failures.
  • Be intentional about reaching out to those who may be marginalized.
  • Give students opportunities to contribute to NDSU in meaningful ways.
  • Recognize that developing students' sense of mattering to NDSU is everyone's responsibility.

Reports and Presentations

Continuing Juniors and Mattering, October 2016
Do I Matter? Results from Continuing Juniors
March, 2016 Presentation at the Annual Meeting of NASPA
June, 2015: Presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education
Do I Matter? Assessing Co-Curricular Programs with the University Mattering Scale
Small group discussion handout
April, 2015
Year of Engagement Presentation Slides: Mattering or Marginalized?
December, 2014
Overall Results from the September and December Survey Administrations
Results for Enrollment Management for the September and December Survey Administrations
Results for Student Life for the September and December Survey Administrations
Results for Wellness from the September and December Survey Administrations
October, 2014
Overall Results from the September Survey Administration
Results for Enrollment Management from the September Survey Administration
Results for Wellness from the September Survey Administration

Interactive Tableau Data Exploration Tools

Mattering Scores by Residence Hall (Fall, 2014)




Mattering Scores by State of Residence (Fall, 2014: For states with 10 or more respondents)




Mattering Scores by Academic Level (Fall 2014)




Mattering Scores by College of Study (Fall, 2014: Link TBD)




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Office of Teaching and Learning
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7015
Campus address: Family Life Center (FLC) 314
Mailing address: Dept 2020 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-2020

Last Updated: Friday, November 3, 2017 9:40:00 AM