Adapting Education Research Instruments Across Borders: From NSSE to ISSLA

  • Margaret Sutton Indiana University


This roundtable will discuss the processes, challenges, and lessons of a research development project that centered on adapting the long-established National Survey of Student Engagement, which measures college students’ participation in programs and activities that promote their learning and personal development, for use in Indonesian universities. The Indonesian adaptation of NSSE, entitled ISSLA (Indonesian Survey of Student learning Activities), was funded by USAID as a research activity in the Higher Education Leadership and Management (HELM) project. The roundtable will begin with a brief overview of NSSE and ISSLA. Each participant will then share insights about cross-national adaptation that arose from their involvement in ISSLA. Following these comments, the floor will be opened to questions about and discussion of adaptation of research instruments across national and cultural contexts.

Professor Margaret (Peg) Sutton; Associate Professor of Education Policy Studies and Southeast Asian Studies, Indiana University.

Prof. Sutton will open the panel by providing background and context for ISSLA as an element of the HELM project and comment on how external funding impacts cross-national research collaboration. She will also act as session moderator.

Professor Alexander C. McCormick; Associate Professor of Higher Education and Director, National Survey of Student Engagement, Indiana University

Prof. McCormick will provide an overview of the development and application of the NSSE survey in North America. He will then share his insights about the challenges and intellectual contribution of cross-national adaptations of NSSE, including ISSLA.

Dr. Judith Ouimet; Senior Assistant Vice Provost for Curricular Development and Assessment, Indiana University.

Dr. Ouimet oversees NSSE administration at Indiana University. She led the effort, with Indonesian colleagues, to adapt NSSE to the Indonesian context. Dr. Ouimet will speak about the processes of translation and pilot testing and offer insight into the necessary elements in cross-cultural adaptation.

Defta Oktafiga; PhD candidate in Higher Education, Indiana University.

Mr. Oktafiga has analyzed both NSSE and ISSLA data. He will provide his insights on whether and how a broader adoption of ISSLA might contribute to quality improvements in Indonesian higher education.

How to Cite
SUTTON, Margaret. Adapting Education Research Instruments Across Borders: From NSSE to ISSLA. Proceedings of Indonesia Focus, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, nov. 2018. ISSN 2475-4005. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 05 july 2022.