Survey instruments

Areas measured by the AUSSE

The survey instruments used in the AUSSE collect information on around 100 specific learning activities and conditions along with information on individual demographics and educational contexts.The instruments contain items that map onto six student engagement scales:

  • Academic Challenge - the extent to which expectations and assessments challenge students to learn;
  • Active Learning - students' efforts to actively construct knowledge;
  • Student and Staff Interactions - the level and nature of students' contact and interaction with teaching staff;
  • Enriching Educational Experiences - students' participation in broadening educational activities;
  • Supportive Learning Environment - students' feelings of support within the university community; and
  • Work Integrated Learning - integration of employment-focused work experiences into study.

The instruments also contain items that map onto seven outcome measures. Average overall grade is captured in a single item, and the other six are composite measures which reflect responses to several items:

  • Higher-Order Thinking - participation in higher-order forms of thinking;
  • General Learning Outcomes - development of general competencies;
  • General Development Outcomes - development of general forms of individual and social development;
  • Career Readiness - preparation for participation in the professional workforce;
  • Average Overall Grade - average overall grade so far in course;
  • Departure Intention - non-graduating students' intentions on not returning to study in the following year; and
  • Overall Satisfaction - students' overall satisfaction with their educational experience.

Three different survey instruments used to collect data as part of the AUSSE. These are the Student Engagement Questionnaire (SEQ) which is administered to first- and third-year undergraduate students, the Postgraduate Student Engagement Questionnaire (PSEQ) which is administered to postgraduate coursework students, and the Staff Student Engagement Questionnaire (SSEQ) which is used to survey academic staff.

Student Engagement Questionnaire (SEQ)

The SEQ is based on the USA National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) College Student Report and has been extensively validated for use in Australasian higher education through a series of focus groups, consultations, cognitive interviews, pilot testing, expert reviews and psychometric analyses. These validation processes builds upon the extensive validation conducted in the USA.

This survey is conducted with first- and third-year undergraduate onshore students who have not previously participated in higher education and is designed for administration 15 minutes or less either online or using a paper form.

Postgraduate Student Engagement Questionnaire (PSEQ)

The PSEQ, the survey instrument for the Postgraduate Survey of Student Engagement (POSSE), is an adaptation of the SEQ that is designed to be administered to postgraduate coursework students. The PSEQ was piloted with institutions in 2009 and will be offered as an option to all institutions from 2010.

The PSEQ is conducted online only and takes 15 minutes or less to complete. The PSEQ collects data on the same six student engagement scales and seven outcome measures as the SEQ.

Staff Student Engagement Questionnaire (SSEQ)

The SSEQ, the survey instrument for the Staff Student Engagement Survey (SSES), builds directly on the USA Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), a survey that has been run by Indiana University's Centre for Postsecondary Research since 2004.

The SSEQ is a survey of academic staff about the undergraduate students they have taught during the past two years. The survey measures academics' perceptions of how often their students engage in different activities, the importance they place on various aspects of learning, the nature and frequency of their interaction with students and how they organise their time, both in and out of the classroom.As the structure and content of the SSEQ closely mirrors that of the SEQ, the results for many of the SSEQ items can be directly compared to those on the SEQ.

This survey contains items that tap a range of key educational phenomena, and collects data on the same six student engagement scales as the SEQ and PSEQ. The SSEQ also captures staff perceptions on five of the seven outcome measures: Higher-Order Thinking, General Learning Outcomes, General Development Outcomes, Departure Intention and Overall Satisfaction.The SSEQ is conducted online only and takes around 15 minutes to complete.