National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Description

What is student engagement?

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 the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning.

What does NSSE do?

Through its student survey NSSE annually collects information at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about first-year and senior students' participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending university.

How are survey results used?

Institutions use their data to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience inside and outside the classroom that can be improved through changes in policies and practices more consistent with good practices in undergraduate education. This information is also used by prospective university students, their parents, university counselors, academic advisers, institutional research officers, and researchers to learn more about how students spend their time at different colleges and universities and what they gain from their experiences.