High-Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices

Due to their positive associations with student learning and retention, certain undergraduate opportunities are designated "high-impact." High-Impact Practices (HIPs) 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. Participation can be life-changing (Kuh, 2008).

High-Impact Practice Questions on NSSE

NSSE asks about participation in six HIPs:

High-Impact PracticeItem Wording


About how many of your courses at this institution have included a community-based project (service-learning)?

Learning Community

Participate in a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together

Research with Faculty

Work with a faculty member on a research project

Internship or Field Experience

Participate in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement

Study Abroad

Participate in a study abroad program

Culminating Senior Experience

Complete a culminating senior experience (capstone course, senior project or thesis, portfolio, recital, comprehensive exam, etc.)

Unlike most questions on the NSSE survey, the HIP questions are not limited to the current school year. Thus, seniors' responses include participation from prior years.


Participation in a High-Impact Practice is reported as the percentage of students who responded "done or in progress" for all HIPs except service-learning, for which they reported at least "some" of their courses included a community-based project. Thus, a HIP score of 26 means that 26% of respondents had participated in the activity.

NSSE reports participation in learning communities, service-learning, and research with faculty for both first-year students and seniors, and also reports participation in internships or field experiences, study abroad, and culminating senior experiences only for seniors.

Although HIPs are already included in each institution's NSSE data file, SPSS syntax to generate a table of HIP participation by student characteristics is available.