National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

The National Survey of Student Engagement, or NSSE, evaluates the extent to which first-year and senior students engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. Or more simply, it is an assessment tool for teaching and learning.

Student Engagement, as measured by NSSE, is "the time and energy students devote to educationally sound activities inside and outside the classroom, and the policies and practices that institutions use to induce students to take part in these activities." (George Kuh, Change, March/April 2003)

Survey Questions

The NSSE survey instrument, either the paper or web version, was made up of just over 80 questions in 12 categories.  A new updated version of the survey instrument debuted in 2013. 


The foundations of student engagement theory go back more than 70 years:

  • Time on task (Tyler, 1930's)
  • Quality of effort (Pace, 1960-70's)
  • Student involvement (Astin, 1984)
  • Social, academic integration (Tinto, 1987, 1993)
  • Good practices in undergraduate education (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)
  • Outcomes (Pascarella, 1985)
  • Student engagement (Kuh, 1991, 2005)

Themes and Indicators

Starting with the new 2013 survey instrument, there are now four Engagement Themes which are further broken down into ten Engagement Indicators.  In addition, there are now six High-Impact Practices.


 Engagement Indicators

Academic Challenge

Higher-Order Learning

Reflective & Integrative Learning

Learning Strategies

Quantitative Reasoning

Learning with Peers

Collaborative Learning

Discussions with Diverse Others

Experiences with Faculty

Student-Faculty Interaction

Effective Teaching Practices

Campus Environment

Quality of Interactions

Supportive Environment

High-Impact Practices

  • Learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together
  • Courses that included a community-based project (service-learning)
  • Work with a faculty member on a research project
  • Internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement
  • Study abroad
  • Culminating senior experience (capstone course, senior project or thesis, comprehensive exam, portfolio, etc.)

UNB Results

UNB NSSE results are posted on the Office of Institutional Analysis' Facts for Internal Use site.

Going Forward

UNB Fredericton last participated in the 2017 NSSE survey, when all first-year and senior-year (4th or 5th year) UNBF undergraduate students were invited by e-mail to participate in the survey in the Spring.  UNBF students will participate in NSSE next in the spring of 2020.


For more information about NSSE at UNB please contact David Kilfoil at If you are interested in more general information about NSSE, check out the official website.