National Survey of Student Engagement

NSSE 2023 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. Results of the survey tell us what students think of their undergraduate experience, the kinds of activities in which they engage, and how they are benefiting from their studies.
UW-Madison fields NSSE every three years during the Spring semester. The 2023 fielding of NSSE opened on March 1st and remained open until May 14th. An incentive was offered, with a chance to win one of 50 $25 Amazon.com gift cards to any respondents between March 1st and April 15th. Despite these efforts, the response rate for NSSE continued to be low (12% for First-year students and 8% for seniors) and we are unlikely to able to disseminate breakouts at the major level or by small subgroups. 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.

NSSE Highlights

Overall satisfaction levels are high:
• 88% of seniors rated their overall experience as good or excellent, significantly higher than the peer average of 81%.
• 90% of seniors would attend UW-Madison again, significantly higher than the 82% of seniors at peer institutions.
• UW-Madison first-year students show similar levels of satisfaction: 83% rated their overall experience as good or excellent (significantly higher levels of satisfaction as compared to peers).
• 86% of first-year students would attend UW-Madison again if they could start over, significantly higher than the 83% of first-year students at peer institutions.
• UW-Madison first-year respondents reported statistically significant higher quality interactions with academic advisors, student services staff, and administrative staff compared with respondents at peer institutions. Seniors report statistically significant higher quality interactions with student services staff and other administrative staff as compared to peers.

Overall UW-Madison students’ responses to NSSE 2023 indicate engagement and experience that is more positive or similar to other participating public research universities. Of the 53 items seniors respond to comprising NSSE’s Engagement Indicators and High Impact Practices, UW-Madison seniors reported small but significant positive differences compared to peers on 13 items, comparable values on 35 items, and small negative differences on 5 items.
Of the 50 items first-year students respond to representing NSSE’s Engagement Indicators and High Impact Practices, UW-Madison first-year students reported small but significant positive differences compared to peers on 34 items, comparable values on 14 items, and a small negative difference on one item.

Short Summaries of UW-Madison Findings

A First Look at NSSE 2023 (Nov. 2023)
Focus on Wisconsin Experience (Nov. 2023)
Focus on Academic Emphasis (Nov. 2023)
Focus on Diversity and Climate (Nov. 2023)
Focus on Career and Workforce Preparation (Nov. 2023)
Selected NSSE Results Over Time (Nov. 2023)

NSSE-Provided Reports

NSSE Engagement Indicators Snapshot
Detailed Frequency Distributions and Summary Statistics
Career and Workforce Preparation Module Summary
High Impact Practices Summary
Multi-Year Report
Administration Summary

In 2023, a total of 541 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. The UW-Madison response rate was 10 percent – 825 first-year students (12 percent) and 662 seniors (8 percent) answered the survey.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

NSSE 2020

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 Summaries of UW-Madison Findings

A First Look at NSSE 2020 (Sept. 2020)
Focus on Wisconsin Experience (Sept. 2020)
Focus on Academic Emphasis (Sept. 2020)
Focus on Diversity and Climate (Sept. 2020)
Focus on Transferable Skills and Career Preparation (Sept. 2020)
Selected NSSE Results Over Time (Oct. 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
Multi-Year Report
Administration Summary

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.

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.

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.