Indiana University

High School Survey of Student Engagement now available online

For the first time, high schools across the country can administer online the High School Survey of Student Engagement, conducted by the Indiana University Center for Evaluation and Education Policy. The survey, last administered two years ago, allows high schools to benchmark their learning environments against other HSSSE participants around the U.S.

Schools may sign up for the comprehensive survey of student engagement and school climate issues through the HSSSE website. Pencil and paper administration is still available, or schools may sign up for the new online tool.

Ft. Wayne's Homestead High School, a participant in HSSSE during the 2009-10 school year.

Fort Wayne's Homestead High School participated in HSSSE during the 2009-10 school year.

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This is the first HSSSE survey since the last full administration during the 2009-10 school year. Since unveiling results from that survey in 2010, administrators at CEEP have been re-evaluating the HSSSE tool and are continuing to revise the survey and its methodology with a new technical advisory panel.

"We want to make sure with the new instrument being developed that we have a highly valid and reliable instrument," said Terry Spradlin, director for education policy and HSSSE at CEEP. "A highly qualified technical advisory panel has helped us reflect on feedback from educators and students around the country and revise the instrument accordingly."

The team of experts includes specialists in the areas of survey development and administration, statistics, and inquiry and methodology from the IU faculty, principals and principal groups, and education consultants.

HSSSE started in 2004 as an outgrowth of the National Survey of Student Engagement, a project of the Center for Postsecondary Research at IU focused on postsecondary students. Each participating school receives a customized report that compares its results to those of all HSSSE participants nationally. Schools may use the results to make changes that can improve the learning environment for their students. Since the HSSSE started in 2004, more than 400,000 students in over 40 states have taken the survey.

Spradlin said interest in the survey hasn't waned during its down time. Because of issues involving school accountability and accreditation, he said many school leaders have been eager to use HSSSE once again.

"For many, it's an affirmation of a job well done," Spradlin said. "It confirms what they think they know is occurring in their school: Students are engaged, they like the learning environment, they feel it's challenging in the appropriate manner. But for some schools and administrators, there are also many 'a-ha' moments generated by review of the data, maybe some things they didn't expect that really the data illustrate they need to work on or maybe revisit or approach differently in their strategy."

HSSSE measures students on three "dimensions of engagement": a cognitive, intellectual and academic dimension; a social, behavioral and participatory dimension; and an emotional engagement dimension.

CEEP, Indiana's leading nonpartisan program evaluation and education policy research center, promotes and supports rigorous evaluation and research primarily for educational, human services and nonprofit organizations. Center projects address state and national education questions. CEEP is part of the IU School of Education.