NAIS School Engagement Surveys

Surveys of Student Engagement

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), in collaboration with the Center for Evaluation, Policy, & Research (CEPR) at Indiana University, encourages independent schools to participate in the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) and the Middle Grades Survey of Student Engagement (MGSSE).

HSSSE (targeting grades 9 through 12) and MGSSE (targeting grades 5 through 9) are student-focused surveys that investigate the attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of students about their school work, the school learning environment, and their interactions with the school community. The surveys are modeled after the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) with the following primary purposes:

  • To provide teachers and school administrators with valid and meaningful data on student engagement at their specific school
  • To help educators use student engagement data to develop and implement strategies and practices that increase student engagement at their specific school
  • To help schools interpret their own student engagement data relative to the aggregate results from other schools

Providing invaluable data

HSSSE and MGSSE data can be invaluable to schools as student engagement is one of the keys to building a safe, positive, and creative school climate and culture to increase student achievement, and decrease student boredom, alienation, and drop-out rates. Unlike knowledge-based assessment instruments, HSSSE and MGSSE provide invaluable student engagement data that showcase how schools instill 21st century skills in their students while providing a caring and safe environment that nurtures the whole child.

Survey design

HSSSE and MGSSE contain parallel survey items. Both surveys are available as an online or paper survey instrument; most students complete the survey in 15–20 minutes. Dimensions of engagement measured include:

  • cognitive/intellectual/ academic
  • social/behavioral/participatory
  • emotional

The Surveys of Student Engagement define "student engagement" as a complex, multi-dimensional construct, with three primary components. Read more about dimensions of engagement.

NAIS User’s Guide and Toolkit for the Surveys of Student Engagement: The High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE) and the Middle Grades Survey of Student Engagement (MGSSE) 

This essential guide explains why student engagement is important and provides steps and strategies that will help you prepare for and launch the surveys, interpret your school’s numbers, and use them to drive improvement.

Download NAIS User's Guide and Toolkit