National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

About NSSE

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is administered every three years to first-years and seniors. St. Olaf students most recently participated in the NSSE during Spring semester 2021. Of those asked to respond, 389 St. Olaf first-years (53% of the first-year class) and 289 St. Olaf seniors (38% 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 2021 Core Instrument.

Additionally, you can find a list of the institutions that comprise the NSSE 2021 Selected Comparison Groups.

Summary Results

NSSE Snapshot
The Snapshot provides a concise set of key findings from the Spring 2021 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, Effective Learning Strategies, Quantitative Reasoning, Collaborative Learning, Discussions with Diverse Others, Student-Faculty Interaction, Effective Teaching Practices, Quality of Campus Interactions, and Supportive Campus 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, which St. Olaf administered for the first time in 2021, 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.

BCSSE-NSSE Combined Report
Responses to paired items on both surveys completed by the same set of first-year students.

FSSE-NSSE Combined Report
Drawing on similar questionnaire items in FSSE and NSSE, this report provides side-by-side comparisons of faculty and student perceptions of student engagement.

Report to the Board of Regents
The academic Assessment Committee prepares a report to the Board of Regents in the Fall detailing the results of surveys administered the prior year. The report linked above includes results from the 2021 NSSE, as well as two companion surveys administered that year, the BCSSE and FSSE, and the HEDS Alumni Survey.

Detailed Results

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 35 institutions in St. Olaf’s criterion-based comparison group, 15 ACM or GLCA member institutions, and 91 private institutions in the same Carnegie classification as St. Olaf.