National University Tops Nationwide Benchmarks for Academic Challenge for Seventh Year in a Row

La Jolla, Calif. — For the seventh year in a row, National University has surpassed nationwide benchmarks measuring the level of academic challenge at four-year colleges and universities, according to data from the ninth annual report of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) titled “Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within.” The survey results were released on November 10, 2008.

The NSSE 2008 Report is sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The report seeks to assess the extent to which undergraduate students are involved in educational practices that are empirically linked to high levels of learning and development.

The NSSE Annual Report is a leading tool for assessing the quality of undergraduate education. The number of colleges and universities using NSSE has grown from 276 in 2000 to 722 this year.

NSSE is accompanied by a benchmark report that provides participating institutions with comparative scores in five criteria, including 1) Level of Academic Challenge, 2) Active and Collaborative Learning, 3) Student-Faculty Interaction, 4) Enriching Educational Experiences, and 5) Supportive Campus Environment. The scores present a uniform means for assessing student behavior and institutional practices.

Analysis of this year’s survey was based on more than 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

The level of academic challenge was assessed by polling students on the number of assigned textbooks, the number of written papers or reports required, the emphasis of the coursework, and other factors.

The NSSE 200 Report, “Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within,” can be downloaded from the NSSE Web site ( or it can be ordered for $20 from the National Survey of Student Engagement, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, School of Education, 1900 E. 10th Street, Suite 419, Bloomington, IN 47406-7512.

– END –