The Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) is run by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) in conjunction with participating higher education institutions. The AUSSE was designed to help stimulate evidence-focused conversations about students’ engagement in university study, and provide institutions with information that they can use to monitor and enhance the quality of education they provide to their students.

The AUSSE was run for the first time with Australian and New Zealand universities in 2007 with 25 institutions. In 2008, 29 institutions participated, in 2009 35 institutions participated, in 2010 53 institutions participated, in 2011 41 institutions participated and in 2012 32 institutions participated in the AUSSE. To date there have been close to 300 institutional replications of the AUSSE, POSSE and SSES. 

The AUSSE has formative links with the USA National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), a collection that was developed in the mid-1990s and over the past decade has been run in over 1,300 USA and Canadian higher education institutions. AUSSE results can be benchmarked with NSSE results, which provides a powerful perspective for internationally focused higher education institutions.

Data is collected using the state-of-the-art Student Engagement Questionnaire (SEQ), which is administered to a representative sample of first- and later-year students at participating institutions, or is conducted as a census of these students. Findings from the survey are reported back to institutions in an Institution Report and are also reported publicly in the Australasian Student Engagement Report and AUSSE Research Briefings.

Institutions who participate in the AUSSE can also run the Postgraduate Survey of Student Engagement (POSSE) with their postgraduate coursework students and the Staff Student Engagement Survey (SSES) which is a survey of academic staff about their students’ engagement.

If your institution would like to participate in the AUSSE in 2013, please download and complete the AUSSE Institution Participation Form and return to ACER, or contact ACER on +61 3 9277 5742 or at

What is student engagement?

Student engagement is defined as students’ involvement in activities and conditions that are linked with high-quality learning. A key assumption is that learning outcomes are influenced by how an individual participates in educationally purposeful activities. While students are seen to be responsible for constructing their own knowledge, learning is also seen to depend on institutions and staff generating conditions that stimulate student involvement.

Why should we participate in the AUSSE?

Understanding and effectively managing students’ engagement in education plays a significant role in enhancing learning processes and outcomes. AUSSE data:

  • provide real-time information on learning processes;
  • offer the most reliable proxy measures of learning outcomes;
  • provide excellent diagnostic measures for enhancement activities;
  • help identify how to attract and, importantly, retain students;
  • can be benchmarked against international and institutional points of reference;
  • highlight the value of a university experience; and
  • help manage resources, and monitor programs and services.

The AUSSE is a collaboration that is constantly evolving. A team of ACER staff manage the development under the leadership of Dr Hamish Coates. Guidance is provided by the AUSSE Advisory Group, and NSSE provides input into survey design and development. Institutions play a formative and critical role in shaping AUSSE resources and methodologies, and in advancing evidence-based conversations about student engagement. The AUSSE will develop and grow through workshops and seminars, institutional activities, formal reviews and publications.