NOTE: NSSE survey items are copyrighted by Indiana University, and may not be used without permission in internal surveys.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is sponsored by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, and administered every two to three years to first-years and seniors. St. Olaf students most recently participated in the NSSE during Spring semester 2023. Of those asked to respond, 398 St. Olaf first-years (44% of the first-year class) and 250 St. Olaf seniors (36% of the senior class) responded to questions about their engagement in academic and co-curricular activities, perception of St. Olaf, and overall college experience.
The links on this page lead to summary reports and to detailed results. If you have any questions about the NSSE instrument, administration, or results (including from prior years), please send a message to IE&A.
You can learn more about the questions students responded to by reviewing the NSSE 2023 Core Instrument.
Additionally, you can find a list of the institutions that comprise the NSSE 2023 Selected Comparison Groups.
This interactive dashboard allows for disaggregation of key questions from NSSE (along with the HEDS Alumni Survey) by different demographic categories (race/ethnicity/citizenship, first-generation status, ability status, gender identity, sexual orientation).
The Snapshot provides a concise set of key findings from the Spring 2023 administration, with summary comparisons between St. Olaf and similar institutions.
NSSE Engagement Indicators (EIs)
The NSSE Engagement Indicators combine results from several related items to provide composite measures of: Higher-Order Learning, Reflective and Integrative Learning, Learning Strategies, Quantitative Reasoning, Collaborative Learning, Discussions with Diverse Others, Student-Faculty Interaction, Effective Teaching Practices, Quality of Interactions, and Supportive Environment.
NSSE High Impact Practices (HIPs)
High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are research-identified as particularly effective in promoting high levels of student learning and retention. HIPs demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside the classroom, require meaningful interaction with faculty, encourage collaboration with diverse others, and provide frequent and substantive feedback. NSSE findings indicate the extent of student participation in each practice and the number of students who participate in two or more.
NSSE Topical Module: Academic Advising
This module, updated in 2020, examines student experiences with academic advising, including frequency of interaction with advisors and advising practices that reflect NACADA core values. It also asks students to identify who has been most helpful. The module complements a question on the core survey about the quality of students’ interactions with academic advisors.
NSSE Topical Module: Inclusiveness and Engagement with Cultural Diversity
This module examines environments, processes, and activities that reflect the engagement and validation of cultural diversity and promote greater understanding of societal differences. Questions explore students’ exposure to inclusive teaching practices and intercultural learning; perceptions of institutional values and commitment regarding diversity; and participation in diversity-related programming and coursework.
Report to the Board of Regents – Coming in February 2024
The academic Assessment Committee will report on NSSE to the Board of Regents at their February 2024 meeting.
NSSE first-year and senior item frequency distributions and means
First-year and senior responses to each item on the NSSE questionnaire, including comparisons with 29 institutions in St. Olaf’s criterion-based comparison group, 11 ACM or GLCA member institutions, and 92 private institutions in the same Carnegie classification as St. Olaf.
Open-Ended Response Summary
Institutions select one from a pre-set list of open-ended questions to display to students the end of the survey. In 2023, St. Olaf selected the following question: “What one change would most improve the educational experience at this institution, and what one thing should not be changed?” Responses are summarized in the report linked above, with several direct student quotes to supplement the analysis.