ODA Home > Institutional Research > Surveys > NSSE 2009 > Introduction

National Survey of Student Engagement 2009

Click here for highlights of results


This page provides an introduction to the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), along with links to the results of this survey. In 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2009, the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) participated in national administrations of the NSSE, which is designed to provide data that colleges and universities can use to improve undergraduate education. The NSSE gathers information from freshmen and seniors about college experiences, skills acquired during college, and students' academic and non-academic activities. NSSE urges prospective students to inquire about these topics on college visits and provides a "pocket guide" for this purpose--available through school counselors, college admissions offices, educational organizations, and on the NSSE Web site.

The NSSE was launched in the spring of 2000 with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts and is currently self-supported through institutional participation fees. Project research is also supported by grants from Lumina Foundation for Education and the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College. More than 640 colleges and universities participated in the NSSE in 2009.

This survey is administered by a team at Indiana University. It is administered in both web and paper formats with identical questions. Participating institutions may choose web-only, paper-only, or web-plus-paper formats. CU-Boulder chose to use web-only in all four years. In addition, CU-Boulder participated in the Association of American Universities Data Exchange consortium, which administered 20 optional questions to students as part of NSSE.

Table 1 shows the numbers of CU-Boulder freshmen and seniors who responded to the survey, by year:

Table 1
Survey Respondents, by Class Level and Year
Class level Year
2000 2002 2006 2009
Freshman 346 389 650 1,349
Senior 572 467 846 1,547
Total 918 856 1,496 2,896

The relatively large number of respondents in 2009 (n = 2,896) is partly the result of CU-Boulder's participation in a pilot study of items for the Consortium for the Study of Writing in College (CSWC). This number represents all CU-Boulder respondents, both from the original sample and from an additional group of students in the population who were not selected for the original sample. See Method for additional information.

CU-Boulder's 2009 response rate (35%) was somewhat higher than that of other AAU public institutions (generally 28%). For purposes of comparing over time and to other AAU publics, this response rate is based on students from the 2009 original sample only. Table 2 shows response rates over time for CU-Boulder.

Table 2
Response Rates, by Year
2000 2002 2006 2009
40% 34% 39% 35%

It is possible that the relatively low 2002 response rate was the result of timing of the administration process. In 2002 CU-Boulder's spring break occurred between two important events: the invitation to participate in NSSE and the receipt of the survey instrument. It is possible that some students were less motivated to participate in the 2002 survey after returning from spring break.


Click here for highlights of results

Preliminary results were provided by NSSE in August 2009 and posted shortly thereafter. These include results for a comparison group of 12 AAU public institutions:  Indiana-Bloomington, Iowa State, Texas A&M, Arizona, Texas-Austin, Maryland-College Park, Michigan-Ann Arbor, Minnesota-Twin Cities, Missouri-Columbia, North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Oregon, and Washington-Seattle. The preliminary results (listed below) show campus-specific results for CU-Boulder and comparisons to these twelve other AAU schools combined.

Preliminary results (provided by NSSE):

In the fall of 2009, staff members in the institutional research area of the Office of Data Analytics conducted further analyses of the NSSE data.

Results of additional analyses of NSSE data, carried out at CU-Boulder:

 Please note that you can also access these results via the sidebar to the left.

Last revision 05/31/16

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