The NSSE Institute promotes effective educational practice and helps institutions use student engagement results to improve teaching and learning. To this end, we work with a variety of organizations and institutions to convene stakeholders for institutes and workshops to explore projects of mutual interest, consult with institutions and systems, and examine ways to use data to improve the undergraduate student experience. We also conduct research and development consistent with NSSE’s mission, such as the research projects described below.
We are partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to provide a review and recommendations for the update of the Institutional Transformation Assessment (ITA). This work includes the next phase of testing, refinement and scaling of the ITA tool applying a mix of evidence from previous tests, user feedback, expert input, scholarly review, collaborative testing and editing to ensure relevant content.
This enhancement process will include specific attention to race and socioeconomic equity and rubric refinement based on survey design principles. The project will result in recommendations for revised indicators and a planned process for future revision across rubrics and associated tools, findings about performance and utilization, and documentation of key changes.
The coronavirus upended all aspects of education. The 2020–21 academic year required rapid adaptation to unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances. Amidst these circumstances, it was especially important to understand students' experiences and support educators working to implement effective educational practices. In response to these challenges, NSSE offered a special fall 2020 survey at no charge (NSSE 2021 registration not required). The short online survey—NSSE Pulse—included selected questions from NSSE critical to persistence to help colleges and universities take the pulse of the undergraduate student experience and use results to diagnose shortcomings and strengths and to inform campus action.
Approximately 1.2 million bachelor’s degree-seeking students attend the colleges and universities that participated in NSSE Pulse. These institutions reflect the diversity of U.S. bachelor’s-granting colleges and universities with respect to institution type, public or private control, size, region, and locale.Eight headline findings are discussed in the NSSE Pulse Report, along with implications and recommendations for colleges and universities.
This project is a collaboration between NSSE and Strada Education Network (Strada) to address the current interest in work and career preparation by gathering data and developing assessment tools, reports and resources to assist colleges and universities and interested stakeholders learn more about the state of work and career preparation in undergraduate education. Specifically, we will develop a survey to be offered as a topical module available to 4-year colleges and universities participating in NSSE to ask undergraduates about how the college experience prepares them for work and careers.
This project seeks to facilitate and enhance the assessment of High-Impact Practices (HIPs) for quality and equity at bachelor’s degree-granting colleges and universities through the development of a new set of survey items to assess HIP experiences, and to create and test additional HIP item sets and new survey approaches.
This study examines the relationships between students' residential conditions, their engagement, and ultimately their persistence for first-year and sophomore students attending 75 U.S. institutions. The study combines data from NSSE, a special set of NSSE questions on students’ living arrangements, the ACUHO-I Campus Housing Index, and persistence data from the National Student Clearinghouse.
This partnership between NSSE and the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE) at The University of Texas at Austin, with support from the Kresge Foundation and the Greater Texas Foundation, focuses on building and extending the knowledge base on the largest underserved, underrepresented, and fastest-growing minority population in the US. Following analyses of survey data on the experiences of Latinos in community colleges and bachelor’s institutions, an intensive 2½ day institute, in collaboration with Excelencia in Education, will provide partner institutions with actionable information and strategies for strengthening the engagement experiences of Latino students and facilitating their successful transfer and college completion.
Using multi-year data from NSSE, this study identifies institutions that show a pattern of positive improvement on a robust set of measures of effective educational practice over at least four observations. Then, to inquire into the institutional change process, the study uses a mixed-methods approach to document institutional improvement and change initiatives in higher education—as well as contributing to the literature and current discussions about educational reform.
NSSE collaborated with the American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) on an initiative examining the daily activities of educationally effective colleges and universities in order to understand what they do to promote student success. Case studies of 20 high-performing colleges and universities of various sizes and types provided information regarding their higher-than-predicted graduation rates and higher-than-predicted scores on five NSSE clusters of effective educational practice.
BEAMS, a 5-year initiative to improve retention, achievement, and institutional effectiveness at Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), entailed institutions using evidence from NSSE and other sources to analyze the scope and character of students' engagement in their learning. Results included institutions implementing action plans to improve engagement, learning, persistence, and success.
This initiative involves the Council of Independent Colleges’ (CIC) continued work with a consortium of institutions using a specific instrument, the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA), combined with NSSE to understand educational and programmatic features associated with gains in students’ analytical reasoning, critical thinking, and writing skills.
NSSE is being used with cohorts of the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education (WNSLAE), a longitudinal assessment of liberal arts outcomes, to explore the relationship between engagement and a variety of outcomes measures.
This Penn State project uses NSSE and other data to map the comprehensive influences affecting student learning and persistence during the first year among new students entering 34 institutions nationwide. The study examines first-year student success as it is shaped by students’ experiences; the peer environment; faculty members’ values and activities; and internal institutional structures, practices, and policies.