NSSE Information and Definitions

The National Survey of Student Engagement contains a wealth of data. NSSE has developed several scales and metrics to support analysis and facilitate understanding of select results.

Who is surveyed?

The sample for NSSE consists of all first-year and senior (i.e., those in the final year before degree) bachelor’s degree-seeking students. This includes adult learners, part-time students, commuters, and distance education students, provided they meet first-year or graduating senior credit hour requirements.


Themes and Engagement Indicators

NSSE developed ten Engagement Indicators organized within four engagement themes as shown below. Each Engagement Indicator provides valuable information about a distinct aspect of student engagement by summarizing students' responses to a set of related survey questions. These indicators have been used since the 2014 administration. Further details can be found on the NSSE oficial site here.

Theme Engagement Indicator
Academic Challenge

Higher-Order Learning

Reflective and 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


Individual respondent engagement scores are the student's average responses to items within each grouping, after all items have been placed on a 60-point scale. These engagement indicators are a means of assessing what students are doing (their experiences) at the university – they are not opinion or satisfaction markers. The scores that are presented for MUN in the official NSSE report is a weighted mean of these student-level scores.

High-Impact Practices

Due to their positive associations with student learning and retention, certain undergraduate opportunities are designated "high-impact." High-Impact Practices (HIPs) 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. Further details can be found on the NSSE oficial site here.

High-Impact Practice
Item Wording
Service-Learning About how many of your courses at this institution have included a community-based project (service-learning)?
Learning Community Participate in a learning community or some other formal program where groups of students take two or more classes together
Research with Faculty Work with a faculty member on a research project
Internship or Field Experience Participate in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement
Study Abroad Participate in a study abroad program
Culminating Senior Experience Complete a culminating senior experience (capstone course, senior project or thesis, comprehensive exam, portfolio, etc.)


Selected Comparison Groups

Each iteration of NSSE, Memorial selects 3 comparison groups that are included in the official NSSE reports. These selections have been consistent for all years that Memorial has participated. They include:

  • All participating Canadian institutions
  • All participating Canadian Comprehensive institutions
  • All participating U15 Research Canadian institutions