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Administration Protocol and Procedures

Who NSSE surveys and why

All first-year and senior bachelors degree-seeking students at participating institutions must be included in NSSE population files, congruent with our position that higher education assessment should include all students, not just those fitting the traditional age, full-time student profile. Participation in NSSE requires consistent methodology from all colleges and universities; if you have any questions about our population file instructions please contact your Project Service team.

Within this framework of methodological rigor that enables cross-institutional comparisons, NSSE enables within-institution analysis by providing options to flag student sub-populations in the population file. Participating institutions receive a student-level data file that allows disaggregation of results based on specific institutional research interests.

Download detailed Population File instructions.

Recruiting Respondents

NSSE is governed by the Indiana University Bloomington Institutional Review Board (IUB IRB) and only IUB IRB-approved recruiting messages may be used to recruit participants. NSSE project associates work with each institution to balance IUB IRB requirements with those of IRBs at participating institutions. Promotion of NSSE should be guided by campus culture, but must always fall within the parameters of IRB guidelines.

Terms of Participation

Institutions that register for NSSE complete the Institutional Participation Agreement which outlines important terms of IRB regulations relating to recruitment and protection of study participants, cost information, and NSSE’s commitment to keeping institutional results confidential.

Access for Visually or Hearing Impaired Students

The Center for Survey Research at Indiana University codes the survey so that it can be completed by users with disabilities, as outlined in section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The instrument is tested using JAWS, the most commonly used screen-reading assistive device, and staff are available Monday-Friday by phone to receive relay calls to assist hearing impaired students.


Promoting Survey Participation

Alma College

Strategies for improving student participation in the survey.

Technology Resources

California State University Stanislaus

Tips to help Information Technology professionals ensure that students receive survey e-mails.