Information Literacy Assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

A session at ALA in Anaheim entitled, “Feasible, Scalable, and Measurable; information literacy assessment and the National Survey of Student Engagement” focused on presenting a draft module for the NSSE survey in 2013 to include more focused questions on information literacy.  The presenters, Polly Boruff-Jones (Drury University) , Carrie Donovan (Indiana University), and Kevin Fosnacht (NSSE) have made their slides available here –

This project builds on work that was done creating test questions that were incorporated in the 2008 version of the survey.  These were not permanent, so the new module is developing specific new questions to collect data on a regular basis.  While the presentation focused on discussing the draft questions and soliciting feedback, the presentation also included a demonstration of the NSSE Report Builder, a publicly accessible site that allows users to construct reports based on variables selected from the NSSE.

The NSSE website has a page (  with tools and services that includes links to the Report Builder, Custom Analyses, and Data Analysis Resources.  The same page allows users to search for participating institutions, so for users who aren’t familiar with the NSSE and want to see which institutions participate can check this list.    Please keep in mind that many institutions do not complete this survey every year, so while there is a complete list of 2012 participating institutions, check the separate list of participating institutions with a display of years in which the survey was completed for each institution.

A couple of articles that may help readers get a better understanding of how to use NSSE are available from ACRL publications:

An example of one institution using the data for benchmark comparisons, is Franklin & Marshall.  Readers can see the benchmark comparisons for information literacy using the Level of Academic Challenge data.

So, you may have access to similar data for your institution and can use it to prepare your own analyses.  If your institution participates in the NSSE survey, have you reviewed the results?  Have you created similar benchmarks with your institutional data from the NSSE?  Please share how you are using NSSE data.