Many options are available to customize NSSE administrations and reports in ways that maximize value for individual campuses as well as for groups of institutions that elect to participate in NSSE as a consortium or state system.
One of the important ways NSSE is customized for all participating institutions is in the survey administration process. Although NSSE handles various aspects of survey administration, the intent is for students to recognize that their college or university is soliciting their feedback. To achieve this, campuses customize student recruitment messages and use a consistent tone throughout their student communications. NSSE develops all messages so they appear to be from institution-designated signatories as well. Using an optional institutional logo for the online survey also reinforces the idea that individual colleges and universities administer NSSE.
Additional survey and report customization options include the following:
Topical Modules - short sets of questions on designated topics such as academic advising, civic engagement, experiences with diversity, technology, and writing. Modules allow for deeper exploration of important areas based on campus needs. Participants may add up to one module for no extra cost, while adding a second module costs $150. Note that consortium members may only administer one module.
Customizable Sample for Reporting (New!)Institutions may identify the students to be used for reporting to best serve their institution’s assessment needs. Examples of customized reporting samples include first-time first-year or residential students (thus excluding continuing first-year or distance education students, respectively). Comparison groups, however, will still include all types of student respondents. Institutions should review NSSE’s population file instructions for additional information about identifying the sample to be used in their Institutional Report.
Comparison GroupsThe NSSE Institutional Report displays an institution's results alongside those of three customizable comparison groups. Institutions select appropriate peers from the pool of participating institutions. Default comparison groups are available, but we strongly encourage institutions to tailor comparison groups in ways that make results most meaningful for campus assessment and research purposes. For additional information, view the Webinar: Tips on Maximizing the Value of Your NSSE Institutional Report or download the guide (PDF), Customizing Your NSSE Institutional Report: Selecting Comparison Groups .
Major Field ReportDetailing engagement results by major categories has become increasingly important for many campuses as they try to inform department-level assessment. NSSE introduced the Major Field Report in 2009 to help make results more useful to programs and departments. For the purpose of this report, institutions may regroup the 85 student-reported majors into as many as eight new categories to match their profile of degrees offered. While default major groupings are available, NSSE strongly recommends institutions customize their Major Field Report. Click here to learn more. Also, view the webinars, "Beginning to Look Within: NSSE Reports by Major Field," and "Student Engagement in the Professions".
Creative Approaches to Customizing Comparison Groups
Consider these examples created by NSSE participating institutions as you customize your comparison groups: