Student Engagement Indicators

Decorative: "NSSE National Survey of Student Engagement - YOU can make a difference!"


A. "From Benchmarks to Engagement Indicators and High-Impact Practices" (infographic; pdf) presents the National Survey of Student Engagement with specific "engagement indicators and items" under each benchmark.

  • This list provides a useful checklist against which to consider our students' experience, the skills and experiences we encourage students to cultivate through our classes and assignments, and our own broader practices as instructors.

B. "Engagement Indicators and Items"

1. "Academic Challenge" 

a. "Higher-Order Learning" 

"During the current school year, how much has your coursework emphasized the following":

  • "Applying facts, theories, or methods to practical problems or new situations" 
  • "Analyzing an idea, experience, or line of reasoning in depth by examining its parts"
  • "Evaluating a point of view, decision, or information source"
  • "Forming a new idea or understanding from various pieces of information"

b. "Reflective & Integrative Learning" 

"During the current school year, how often have you ..."

  • "Combined ideas from different courses when completing assignments"
  • "Connected your learning to societal problems or issues"
  • "Included diverse perspectives (political, religious, racial/ ethnic, gender, etc.) in course discussions or assignments"
  • "Examined the strengths and weaknesses of your own views on a topic or issue" 
  • "Tried to better understand someone else’s views by imagining how an issue looks from his or her perspective"
  • "Learned something that changed the way you understand an issue or concept"
  • "Connected ideas from your courses to your prior experiences and knowledge"

c. "Learning Strategies" 

"During the current school year, how often have you ..."

  • "Identified key information from reading assignments"
  • "Reviewed your notes after class"
  • "Summarized what you learned in class or from course materials"

d. "Quantitative Reasoning" 

"During the current school year, how often have you ..."

  • "Reached conclusions based on your own analysis of numerical information (numbers, graphs, statistics, etc.)"
  • "Used numerical information to examine a real-world problem or issue (unemployment, climate change, public health, etc.)" 
  • "Evaluated what others have concluded from numerical information"

2. "Learning with Peers" 

a. "Collaborative Learning" 

"During the current school year, how often have you ..."

  • "Asked another student to help you understand course material" 
  • "Explained course material to one or more students"
  • "Prepared for exams by discussing or working through course material with other students"
  • "Worked with other students on course projects or assignments"

b. "Discussions with Diverse Others" 

"During the current school year, how often have you had discussions with people from the following groups":

  • "People from a race or ethnicity other than your own" 
  • "People from an economic background other than your own" 
  • "People with religious beliefs other than your own" 
  • "People with political views other than your own"

3. "Experiences with Faculty" 

a. "Student-Faculty Interaction" 

"During the current school year, how often have you ..."

  • "Talked about career plans with a faculty member"
  • "Worked with a faculty member on activities other than coursework (committees, student groups, etc.)"
  • "Discussed course topics, ideas, or concepts with a faculty member outside of class"
  • "Discussed your academic performance with a faculty member"

b. "Effective Teaching Practices" 

"During the current school year, to what extent have your instructors done the following":

  • "Clearly explained course goals and requirements"
  • "Taught course sessions in an organized way"
  • "Used examples or illustrations to explain difficult points"
  • "Provided feedback on a draft or work in progress"
  • "Provided prompt and detailed feedback on tests or completed assignments"

4. "Campus Environment" 

a. "Quality of Interactions" 

"Indicate the quality of your interactions with the following people at your institution":

  • "Students"
  • "Academic advisors"
  • "Faculty"
  • "Student services staff (career services, student activities, housing, etc.)"
  • "Other administrative staff and offices (registrar, financial aid, etc.)"

b. "Supportive Environment" 

"How much does your institution emphasize the following":

  • "Providing support to help students succeed academically"
  • "Using learning support services (tutoring services, writing center, etc.)"
  • "Encouraging contact among students from different backgrounds (social, racial/ethnic, religious, etc.)"
  • "Providing opportunities to be involved socially"
  • "Providing support for your overall well-being (recreation, health care, counseling, etc.)"
  • "Helping you manage your nonacademic responsibilities (work, family, etc.)"
  • "Attending campus activities and events (performing arts, athletic events, etc.)" 
  • "Attending events that address important social, economic, or political issues"

5. "High-Impact Practice Items"

a. "Which of the following have you done or do you plan to do before you graduate?" 

  • "Participate in a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together"
  • "Participate in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement" 
  • "Participate in a study abroad program"
  • "Work with a faculty member on a research project"
  • "Complete a culminating senior experience (capstone course, senior project or thesis, comprehensive exam, portfolio, etc.)"

b. "About how many of your courses at this institution have included a community-based project (service-learning)?"

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