Using NSSE 2017 Results for Assessment: Results by Major Field Category

Steps for Using NSSE Data for Assessment

  1. Find the major field category for students in your major. See Table 1 to determine the major field category assigned for each major.
  2. Using survey results for the relevant major field category linked in the list below, examine NSSE engagement and experience indicators, and the NSSE question-by-question responses.
    • Compare responses of students in your major field to levels of engagement and activities you expect for your students.
    • Compare UW-Madison seniors to seniors in similar majors at peer institutions.
  3. Similarly, review the responses for the Development of Transferable Skills module. (All major field categories are in a single report.)  Are the results what you expect?
  4. Evaluate the NSSE response data in the context of your program learning goals, and in the context of your expectations for the student experience.  Are these responses what you would expect? Are these responses you would consider ideal?  Are there program changes that would result in students having more of the experience you are intending them to have?
  5. Discuss your results in a structured setting within the department.
  6. Consider the findings and develop and implement a plan that supports improvement of the student experience.

Instructions for using the major field reports and information about statistical significance in relation to findings can be found here: Using NSSE Results for Assessment.

Broad major field categories:

Arts and Humanities
Biology, Agriculture, and Pre-Health
Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Sciences
Social Sciences
Communications, Media, and Public Relations
Education and Rehabilitation Sciences
Health Professions

Development of Transferable Skills (includes results for all 9 major field categories).

For more information:

UW-Madison faculty and staff who are interested in using the data for program assessment purposes can review the reports posted online or contact Margaret Harrigan (Margaret.Harrigan@wisc.edu).  Additional data by major may be available for majors with sufficiently large numbers of senior respondents to NSSE.  Before we provide major-specific information, we ask that you review the responses from students in the broad major field category relevant to your major as a starting point and as a possible basis for any specific questions.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a survey of college freshmen and seniors designed to assess student involvement in practices associated with high levels of learning, show what students think of their undergraduate experience, and how they are benefiting from their studies.

In spring 2017 all UW-Madison freshmen and seniors were invited to respond to NSSE. The UW-Madison response rate was 29 percent — 1,952 first-year students (31 percent) and 2,556 seniors (28 percent) responded.

Short Summaries of UW-Madison Findings

A First Look at NSSE 2017 (posted Sept. 2017)
Focus on Wisconsin Experience (posted Oct. 2017)
Focus on General Education (posted Oct. 2017)
Focus on Climate (posted Oct. 2017)
Focus on Transferable Skills and Career Preparation (posted Nov. 2017)

NSSE-Provided Reports

NSSE Engagement Indicators Snapshot
Detailed Frequency Distributions and Summary Statistics
Transferable Skills Module Summary
Public Research Universities (AAU) Consortium Report
High Impact Practices Summary
Administration Summary

Reports by Major Area of Study

Mapping UW-Madison Majors to NSSE Broad Major Field Categories
Arts and Humanities
– Biology, Agriculture, and Pre-Health
– Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Computer Sciences
– Social Sciences
– Business
– Communications, Media, and Public Relations
– Education and Rehabilitation Sciences
– Health Professions
Development of Transferable Skills (includes results for all 9 major field categories)

In 2017, a total of 725 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participated in the survey. NSSE is based at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research.

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NSSE 2014

How do I get access to 2014 data and reports?

  • See links below for reports by school/college and by key demographic variables.
  • For access to 2014 survey data for your program or special analyses contact Margaret Harrigan

Key findings from NSSE 2014:

  • 90% of our seniors report having participated in one or more high impact practices, such as research with a faculty member, participation in a learning community, culminating senior experience, service learning course, internship, and study abroad.
  • About 50% of our freshmen report having participated in research with a faculty member, learning community, or service learning course.
  • 92% of freshmen and 94% of seniors rate their overall experience at UW-Madison as excellent or very good, significantly more than students at our peer institutions
  • Our students spend about 18 hours per week preparing for class, significantly more time than students at our peer institutions, but not as much as the two hours out-of-class per hour-in-class that is the higher education standard.
  • Over 90% of our seniors report that their experience at UW-Madison has contributed quite a bit or very much to their knowledge, skills and personal development in thinking critically and analytically.
  • Over 70% report UW-Madison contributed quite a bit or very much to working effectively with others, writing clearly and effectively, and analyzing numerical and statistical information.
  • Compared to our peers, our students spend less time in discussions with people of a race or ethnicity different from their own
  • UW-Madison students report taking fewer service learning courses than our peers

NSSE 2014 Overview

2014 Snapshot (prepared by NSSE)
Frequency Reports (prepared by NSSE)
Respondent Profile(prepared by NSSE)
High-Impact Practices (prepared by NSSE)
Consortium Report – AAUDE (prepared by NSSE)
Experiences with Diverse Perspectives (prepared by NSSE)

NSSE 2014 Questions
NSSE 2014 Topic Questions: Experiences with Diverse Perspectives
NSSE 2014 AAUDE Questions
NSSE 2014: UW-Madison Students’ Engagement in Diversity

First-Year Student Responses by Gender and Minority Status
First-Year Student Responses by First Generation Status

Senior Student Responses by Gender and Minority Status
Senior Student Responses by Transfer and First Generation Status
Senior Student Responses by Sexual Orientation and Disability Status
Senior Student Responses by School/College

NSSE 2011

BCSSE 2010

NSSE 2008

NSSE 2006

2006 UW-Madison NSSE Summary Reports

PDF Files:

2006 NSSE Summary Report
Appendix A. Frequency Report
Appendix B. Peer Comparison Report 

NSSE 2004

2004 UW-Madison NSSE Summary Reports

PDF Files:

Overview report, Appendix
– UW-Madison Seniors, by Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Transfer Status
– UW-Madison Seniors, by School/College

NSSE 2001

2001 UW-Madison NSSE Summary Reports

Reports and Charts

Undergraduate Survey

UW-Madison Undergraduate Survey

2006 Undergraduate Survey Summary Document:
Additional reports from the 2006 undergraduate survey:
2003 Undergraduate Survey Summary Document:
Additional reports from the 2003 undergraduate survey:
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000 Undergraduate Surveys were also completed by the UW Survey Center.