National Survey of Student Engagement

National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has been collecting data from students at four-year colleges and universities around the country since 2000 to assess the extent to which students engage in educationally effective activities. The guiding premise is that student participation in these activities at reasonable levels is a meaningful proxy for collegiate quality. A generous grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts launched the NSSE project which is now sustained by institutional participation fees. NSSE is cosponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

  • Selected Comparison Groups

    The NSSE Institutional Report displays core survey results for your students alongside those of three comparison groups. In May, your institution was invited to customize these groups via the "Report Form" on the Institution Interface. This report summarizes how your comparison groups were constructed and lists the institutions within them.

    NSSE comparison groups may be customized by (a) identifying specific institutions from the list of all 2014 and 2015 NSSE participants, (b)
    composing the group by selecting institutional characteristics, or (c) a combination of these. Institutions that choose not to customize receive default groups that provide relevant comparisons for most institutions.
    Institutions that appended additional question sets in the form of topical modules or through consortium participation were also invited to customize
    comparison groups for the corresponding reports by choosing from the institutions where the question sets were administered. The default for these
    groups is all other 2014 (if applicable) and 2015 institutions where the questions were included. Please note: Comparison groups for additional
    question sets (topical modules and consortium questions) are documented within those reports.

  • Administration Summary

    This report provides an overview of your NSSE administration, including details about your population and sample, response rates, representativeness of your respondents, survey customization choices, and recruitment message schedule. This information can be useful for assessing data quality and planning future NSSE administrations.

  • Respondent Profile
    The Respondent Profile presents both student- and institution-reported demographic information, allowing you to examine similarities and differences between your students and those at your comparison group institutions. This report uses information from all randomly selected or census-administered students. The display below highlights important details in the report to keep in mind when interpreting your results. For more information please visit our website ( or contact your NSSE Project Services team.
  • Engagement Indicators
    Engagement Indicators (EIs) provide a useful summary of the detailed information contained in your students’ NSSE responses. By combining responses to related NSSE questions, each EI offers valuable information about a distinct aspect of student engagement.
  • Pocket Guide
    To focus public awareness on what constitutes quality in the college experience, NSSE developed A Pocket Guide to Choosing a College. This helpful brochure gives prospective students and their families key questions to ask during their campus visits, allowing them to actively consider student engagement during the college choice process.
  • High-Impact Practices

    Due to their positive associations with student learning and retention, certain undergraduate opportunities are designated "high-impact." High-Impact Practices (HIPs) share several traits: They demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, encourage collaboration with diverse others, and provide frequent and substantive feedback. As a result, participation in these practices can be life-changing (Kuh, 2008). NSSE founding director George Kuh recommends that institutions should aspire for all students to participate in at least two HIPs over the course of their undergraduate experience—one during the first year and one in the context of their major (NSSE, 2007).

  • Frequencies and Statistical Comparisons
    The Frequencies and Statistical Comparisons report presents item-by-item student responses and statistical comparisons that allow you to examine patterns of similarity and difference between your students and those at your comparison group institutions. The report uses information from all randomly selected or census-administered students. The display below highlights important details in the report to keep in mind when interpreting your results. For more information please visit our website ( or contact a member of the NSSE team.
  • Snapshot
    Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the
    amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how institutional resources, courses, and other learning opportunities facilitate student participation in activities that matter to student learning. NSSE surveys first-year and senior students to assess their levels of engagement and related information about their experience at your institution.
  • Topical Module Academic Advising
    This module examines students' experiences with academic advising, including frequency, accessibility, and types of information provided. It also asks students to identify their primary source of advice. The module complements a question on the core survey about the quality of students’ interactions with academic advisors. Complementary FSSE set available.
  • Topical Module Experiences w/Information Literacy
    Developed in collaboration with college and university librarians, this module asks students about their use of information and how much their instructors emphasized the proper use of information sources. This module complements questions on the core survey about higher-order learning and how much writing students do.

Results by Year

Major Field Reports

  • Arts and Humanities

    Art, fine and applied, English (language and literature), History, Journalism, Language and Literature (except English), Music, Philosophy, Speech, Theatre or drama, Theology or religion, and Other arts & humanities.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

  • Biological Sciences

    Biology (general), Biochemistry or biophysics, Botany, Environmental science, Marine (life) science, Microbiology or bacteriology, Zoology, and Other biological science.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

  • Education

    Business education, Elementary/middle school education, Music or art education, Physical education or recreation, Secondary education, Special education, and Other education.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

  • Physical Sciences

    Astronomy, Atmospheric science (including meteorology), Chemistry, Earth science (including geology), Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, and Other physical science.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

  • Professional

    Architecture, Urban planning, Health technology (medical, dental, laboratory), Law, Library/archival science, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinarian, Nursing, Pharmacy, Allied health/other medical, Therapy (occupational, physical, speech), and Other professional.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

  • Social Sciences

    Anthropology, Economics, Ethnic studies, Geography, Political science (includes govt., int. relations), Psychology, Social work, Sociology, Gender studies, and Other social science.

    2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012