National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

The NSSE is a national survey which annually collects information from first-years and seniors at hundreds of four-year colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. Survey items represent empirically confirmed “good practices” in undergraduate education. That is, they reflect behaviors by students and institutions that are associated with desired outcomes of college.  Lawrence participates in the NSSE every three years to survey the same cohort as first-years and again as seniors.

How are the data used?

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

Most recent data

The 2016 NSSE data includes responses from 236 Lawrence students. The sample type was census-administered. In all, the far-reaching national sample for the survey is more than 292,000 students at 512 colleges and universities. 

We appended two topical modules including:  

  • Learning with Technology Module. Developed in partnership with EDUCAUSE, these questions examine the role of technology in student learning, focusing on usage, contribution to learning, and perceptions of institutional support. This module complements questions on the core survey about learning with peers, quality of interactions with others, and institutional emphasis on academic support.
  • Global Learning Module. NSSE's Global Learning module assesses student experiences and coursework that emphasize global affairs, world cultures, nationalities, religions, and other international topics. The module complements items on the core NSSE questionnaire about student experiences with people from different backgrounds, course emphasis on integrative and reflective learning, and participation in study abroad. It is designed to complement the American Council on Education's 2016 edition of the Mapping Internationalization on U.S. Campuses survey.

Prior data


  • Instrument - Starting in 2013, NSSE grouped sets of new, updated, and continuing items within ten Engagement Indicators, which were organized within four engagement themes adapted from the former five benchmarks of Effective Educational Practice (2000-12). There are now 47 survey items included in the Engagement Indicators, whereas prior to 2013 there were 42.  Six former Enriching Educational Experiences are now reported separately as High-Impact Practices. 
  • Pocket Guide Report

Two topical modules were appended including:

  • Development of Transferable Skills Module. Adapted from a pilot survey that was developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this module examines activities that develop useful and transferable skills for the workplace (such as verbal and written fluency and analytic inquiry). The module complements questions on the core survey about higher-order learning, reflective and integrative learning, and students' perceptions of their development in a variety of areas. 
  • Experiences with Writing Module. This module is the result of an ongoing collaboration between NSSE and the Council of Writing Program Administrators. The questions touch on three aspects of good writing assignments—interactivity, meaning-making, and clarity. It complements questions on the core survey about how much writing students do, the nature of their course assignments, and perceived gains in written expression.




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