New Dataset: Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE), 2014

1 October 2015


The central aim of Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) is to develop a valuable source of information about students’ experiences of higher education in Ireland. The results of the survey are intended primarily to add value at institutional level, and to inform national policy. A detailed online survey was offered to first year undergraduates, final year undergraduates and postgraduate students on taught programmes. Data are presented as responses to individual items and as calculated scores for eleven indices that relate to broad aspects of student engagement, such as Active Learning and Higher Order Thinking. The survey is the first national survey of students in Ireland and the first system-wide survey of its kind in Europe. The ISSE has formative links with the US National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE). Thus, Irish data can be evaluated in the context of other jurisdictions in addition to the national or sector contexts.

Student engagement may be defined as students’ involvement in activities and environments that are likely to generate high-quality learning. Students are ultimately responsible for their own learning but this depends on institutions and staff creating an environment that encourages and promotes student involvement in educationally-relevant activities. Student engagement with higher education is seen as being enhanced through exposing students to a high quality learning environment. Measuring engagement can provide a means to develop a fuller understanding of the student experience above and beyond that ascertained through surveys of student satisfaction alone.

Following a national pilot in 2013, this dataset represents the first result of fieldwork in 2014. More than 19, 800 students from thirty institutions responded to the survey which was undertaken in February – March 2014. Data from the 2015 implementation of the survey will be lodged with the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) following publication of a national report in November 2015.

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