National Survey of Student Engagement – 2012 Administration


The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a survey of first-year and senior students that measures the level of student engagement in academic and social practices that are linked to student learning, satisfaction, and overall success (click here to see a copy of the survey).  Nicholls administers NSSE every other spring, with the more recent administration in Spring 2014 completed by 540 students (149 freshmen and 391 seniors). NSSE consists of five benchmarks that cover different areas of student engagement. These benchmarks are:

  • Level of Academic Challenge – This benchmark measures the amount of time students spend preparing for class, the amount of student reading and writing, and institutional emphasis on academics
  • Active and Collaborative Learning – This benchmark measures a student’s level of class participation, the degree to which students work collaboratively on projects, and student involvement in tutoring or community-based projects.
  • Student-Faculty Interaction – This benchmark measures the extent to which students talk to, work with, and receive feedback from faculty members.
  • Enriching Educational Experiences – This benchmark measures campus diversity and student participation in out-of-class learning activities such as internships or capstone courses.
  • Supportive Campus Environment –  This benchmark measures student perceptions of campus social and academic support and the quality of relationships student have with staff, faculty, and other students.


Prominent findings from the 2012 NSSE administration include:

Level of Academic Challenge:

  • 78% of first-year students and 76% of seniors feel that Nicholls places a substantial emphasis on academics
  • 32% of first-year students and 38% of seniors spent more than 15 hours per week preparing for class

Active and Collaborative Learning:

  • 47% of first-year students frequently discuss course reading or ideas outside of class, while 42% frequently work with peers on in-class projects
  • 51% of seniors had, by the spring of their senior year, participated in some type of a practicum, internship, field experience, co-op, or clinical assignment

Student-Faculty Interaction:

  • 84% of seniors discuss career plans with faculty at least occasionally
  • 68% of first-year students say faculty are “available, helpful, and sympathetic”
  • 51% of first-year students frequently get prompt verbal or written feedback from faculty members

Enriching Educational Experiences:

  • 18% of students have completed an independent study by the spring of their senior year
  • 54% of students have participated in community service or volunteer work by the spring of their senior year

Supportive Campus Environment:

  • 74% of first-year students describe their peers as friendly and supportive
  • 59% of first-year students describe administrative personnel at Nicholls as “helpful, considerate, and flexible”
  • 70% of first-year students feel Nicholls provides substantial support for their academic success

For more information about results for Nicholls freshmen and seniors from the 2012 administration, please see the “Student Experience in Briefwhich is a short guide that provides prospective students with NSSE survey results to help them learn more about the college experience.

Comparisons between Nicholls and other University of Louisiana (UL) system institutions

One advantage of NSSE is the ability to make comparisons between Nicholls and average scores from the other eight University of Louisiana institutions that completed the survey in Spring 2012.  Below are several comparisons on NSSE items and benchmarks between Nicholls students and their counterparts at other UL system institutions.

Benchmark scores – Click here to compare mean scores on the five benchmarks between Nicholls and UL system freshmen, and here to compare scores for Nicholls and UL system seniors.

Entire educational experience –  79% of first-year students and 85% of seniors rated their educational experience at Nicholls as “good” or “excellent”.  Click on the attached links to see comparisons with the UL system average for freshmen and seniors.

Attend the same institution again – 84% of first-year students and 83% of seniors stated they “probably” or “definitely” would attend Nicholls if they could start over again.  Click on the attached links to see comparisons with UL system freshmen and seniors.

Time usage items – 55% of first-year students and 54% of seniors report spending 11 or more hours per week preparing for class.  Over half of first-year students (52%) and nearly three-fifths (58%) report working off-campus, with 28% of first-year students and 32% of seniors working 21 or more hours per week.  Click on the attached links to compare time usage on six activities (preparing for class, working, participating in co-curricular activities, relaxing and socializing, caring for dependents, and commuting to class) between Nicholls and UL system freshmen and seniors.

If you have any questions or comments about this webpage, or need any additional information about NSSE, please contact Tucker Handley in the Office of Assessment & Institutional Research at (985) 448-4007 or at


Nicholls State University