National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) – 2014 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.  Nicholls administers NSSE every other spring, with the more recent administration in Spring 2014 completed by 476 students (191 freshmen and 325 seniors). In 2013, NSSE conducted a major revision of the survey, replacing the existing five benchmarks with ten “engagement indicators”.  The engagement indicators are organized under four separate themes: Academic Challenge, Learning with Peers, Experiences with Faculty, and Campus Environment. See below for a list of each of the ten engagement indicators by theme:

  • Academic Challenge – Higher-Order Learning, Reflective & Integrative Learning, Learning Strategies, Quantitative Reasoning
  • Learning with Peers – Collaborative Learning, Discussions with Diverse Others
  • Experiences with Faculty – Student-Faculty Interaction, Effective Teaching Practices
  • Campus Environment – Quality of Interactions, Supportive Environment

For more detailed descriptions of the ten engagement indicators, along with information about construction and scoring of the indicators, click here.


Prominent findings from the 2014 NSSE administration include:

Academic Challenge – Higher-Order Learning

  • 65% of first-year students and 72% of seniors reported their coursework  emphasized “evaluating a point of view, decision, or information source” either “quite a bit” or “very much”
  • 62% of first-year students and 75% of seniors reported their coursework emphasized “quite a bit” or “very much” emphasizes “forming a new idea or understanding from various pieces of information” either “quite a bit” or “very much”

Academic Challenge – Reflective and Integrative Learning

  • 36% of first-year students and 57% of seniors reported they have “connected [your] learning to societal problems or issues” either “often” or “very often”

Academic Challenge – Learning Strategies

  • 73% of first-year students reported reviewing their notes after class either “often” or “very often”

Academic Challenge – Quantitative Reasoning

  • 35% of first-year students and 41% of seniors reported “using numerical information to examine a real-world problem or issues” either “often” or “very often”

Learning with Peers – Collaborative Learning

  • 43% of first-year students and 40% of seniors reported asking other student for help understanding course material either “often” or “very often”
  • 37% of first-year students and 45% of seniors reported “preparing for exams by discussing or working through course material with other students” either “often” or “very “often”

Learning with Peers – Discussions with Diverse Others

  • 66% of first-year students and 68% of seniors reported having discussion people holding different religious beliefs either “often” or “very often”

Experiences with Faculty – Student-Faculty Interaction

  • 35% of first-year students and 46% of seniors talked about career plans with a faculty member either “often” or “very often” during the school year

Campus Environment – Quality of Interactions

  • 33% of first-year students and 40% of seniors reported their interactions with faculty advisors were”excellent”
  • 17% of first-year students and 32% of seniors reported their interactions with faculty were “excellent”

Campus Environment – Supportive Environment

  • 71% of first-year students and 62% of seniors reported that Nicholls supports their overall well-being either “quite a bit” or “very much”
  • 49% of first-year students and 40% of seniors reported that Nicholls helps them manage their non-academic responsibilities either “quite a bit” or “very much”

For more information about results for Nicholls freshmen and seniors from the 2014 administration, please see A Pocket Guide for Choosing a Collegewhich 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 2014.  Below are several comparisons on NSSE items and benchmarks between Nicholls students and their counterparts at other UL system institutions.

Engagement Indicator scores – Click here to compare scores on the ten NSSE engagement indicators betwen Nicholls and UL freshmen and seniors.

High-Impact Practices (HIP) – In the revised NSSE survey, six activities have been termed High-Impact Practices (HIP). These activities “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. As a result, participation in these practices can be life-changing.” (for a full description of HIPs, click here).

Nicholls seniors are more likely that their ULS counterparts to participate in HIPs, with 60% of Nicholls seniors participating in 2+ HIPs compared with 55% of ULS seniors (for a full breakout of # of HIPs, click here). Particularly, Nicholls seniors are significantly more likely than ULS seniors to participate in a “culminating senior experience” (like a capstone course or portfolio project), with 47% of Nicholls seniors having completed such an experience compared with 38% of ULS seniors. For a full breakout of participation in HIPs for Nicholls and ULS seniors, click here.

Entire educational experience –  82% of first-year students and 87% 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 – 51% of first-year students and 53% of seniors report spending 11 or more hours per week preparing for class.  Over half of first-year students (52%) and two-thirds of seniors (66%) report working off-campus, with 23% of first-year students and 35% 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.

Time spent on community service and service learning – Nicholls freshmen reported spending significantly more time than ULS freshmen on community service, with Nicholls freshmen spending  an average of 3.8 hours per week on community service,compared with only 2.5 hours for ULS freshmen (click here for a chart showing time spent on community service for Nicholls and ULS freshmen and seniors). Similarly, Nicholls seniors were significantly more likely to take course with a service learning component (22% of Nicholls seniors compared with 15% of ULS seniors). For a chart showing service-learning for Nicholls and ULS seniors, click here.

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