NSSE

NSSE 2020 Results

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 2020 all UW-Madison first-year students and seniors were invited to respond to NSSE. The UW-Madison response rate was 9% — 747 first-year students (10%) and 730 seniors (8%) responded.  The 2020 fielding of NSSE occurred during the COVID-19 disruption.

The profile of respondents is similar overall to the fielding of NSSE in 2017 and prior years, but the response rate was less than half of what it was in 2017.   We attribute the lower response rate to not providing an incentive as we did in 2014 and 2017, and in part to the Covid-19 disruption.  NSSE went into the field on 2/13/2020 before the Covid-19 disruption and stayed live until 04/06/2020.  Because of the low response rate, the number of responses is too low to do many of the disaggregation reports that we have done in prior years; only aggregate institution-level reports will be available for 2020 NSSE.   Short written summaries and complete data tables provided by NSSE are linked in the column to the right, with a brief set of highlights detailed below. For more information about NSSE and UW-Madison’s results contact Sara Lazenby (sara.lazenby@wisc.edu).

NSSE Highlights

UW-Madison students report high levels of satisfaction and an emphasis on academics throughout the survey.  89% of seniors rate their overall experience as good or excellent (significantly higher than peers) and 91% of seniors rated the academic quality of UW-Madison as good/excellent, significantly higher than peers.

UW-Madison students also rate the quality of interactions with others highly, reporting high quality interactions with faculty, academic advisors, student services staff (career services, student activities, housing, etc.), other administrative staff ( registrar, financial aid, etc.), and other students.

While in general across the survey significant differences from peers have a small effect size, a number of items show larger effect sizes for first-year students and seniors. These items are areas where UW-Madison students report differences in relation to peer institutions.

First-year students report that they spend more time preparing for class, more time reading, more frequently identify key information from their reading assignments than peers and report more engagement in course discussions.  First-year students report that the institution places a higher level of emphasis on the use of learning support services (tutoring, writing center, etc.) than at peers. They rate their educational experience, interactions with faculty, and the academic quality of the institution as higher quality as compared to peers and are more likely to feel like they are part of a community.

In contrast,  first-year students report completing fewer course presentations and were less likely to make a speech to a group compared to peers, potentially pointing to a greater emphasis on developing oral communication skills at peer institutions.

Despite UW-Madison’s emphasis on the community and service learning, first-year students report less community service or volunteer work as compared to peers and that fewer of their courses have included a community-based project or service-learning than at peer institutions.

First-year students reported high levels of satisfaction with the quality of interactions with faculty, and they reported they were less likely to work with a faculty member outside of their coursework than peers (committees, student groups, etc).

Seniors also report that they spend more time preparing for, on studying and other academic work, on readings assignments and identifying key information from reading assignments.  Similar to first-year students, they report a high emphasis from the institution on the use of learning support services.  In addition, they are more likely to connect their learning to societal problems or issues as compared to seniors at peer institutions.

Like first-year students, seniors report completing fewer course presentations and speeches compared to peers.

Seniors reported that they less frequently had discussions with people with different political views or of a race or ethnicity other than their own as compared to peer institutions.  Seniors were also less likely to discuss their academic performance with a faculty member compared to seniors at peers.

Short Summaries of UW-Madison Findings

A First Look at NSSE 2020 (posted Sept. 2020)
Focus on Wisconsin Experience (posted Sept. 2020)
Focus on Academic Emphasis (posted Sept. 2020)
Focus on Diversity and Climate (posted Sept. 2020)
Focus on Transferable Skills and Career Preparation (posted Sept. 2020)

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

In 2020, a total of 601 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participated in the survey. NSSE is based at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research; a detailed description of NSSE is available online at http://www.nsse.indiana.edu.

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NSSE 2017

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.