Surveys | National Survey of Student Engagement


  • Institutional Rsch / Assessmt
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    Froslid Jones, Karen
    Director-Institutional Research & Assessment

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The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities. The topics explored are linked to previous research on student success in college. The survey is administered to new freshmen students and seniors.

What is engagement, according to NSSE?

Student engagement represents two critical features of collegiate quality. The first is the amount of time and effort students put into their studies and other educationally purposeful activities. The second is how the institution deploys its resources and organizes the curriculum and other learning opportunities to get students to participate in activities that decades of research studies show are linked to student learning.

American University participates in NSSE every other year, most recently in Spring 2012, and is currently administering it for Spring 2014. You can contact the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at for more information, or visit

Selected Results - Spring 2012

Academic Challenge  
  • Hours spent preparing for class (studying, reading, writing, doing homework or lab work, etc. related to academic program) (11 or More Hours). FY: 84%, SY: 64%
  • Campus environment emphasizing spending significance amounts of time studying and on academic work (Very Much). FY: 81%, SY: 76%

Active and Collaborative Learning
  • Asked questions in class or contributed to class discussions (Often & Very Often). FY: 71%, SY: 82%
  • Discussed ideas from readings or classes with others outside of class (students, family members, co-workers, etc.) (Often & Very Often). FY: 70%, SY: 75%

Student Faculty Interaction
  • Discussed ideas from your readings or classes with faculty members outside of classes (Often & Very Often). FY: 23%, SY: 32%
  • Received prompt written or oral feedback from faculty on your academic performance (Often & Very Often). FY: 69%, SY: 76%

Enriching Educational Experience

  • Community service or volunteer work (Done). FY: 45%, SY: 75%
  • Campus environment encouraging contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds (Often & Very Often). FY: 70%, SY: 60%

Supportive Campus Environment

  • Campus environment that provides the support you need to help you succeed academically (Quite a Bit & Very Much). FY: 86%, SY: 75% 
  • Campus environment that provides the support you need to strive socially (Quite a Bit & Very Much). FY: 45%, SY: 33%
FY = First Year Students, SY = Senior Year Students.


Latest Survey Report – Spring 2012 (available to selected AU community members)