National Peer Educator Survey


August 10, 2018

Survey History & Goals

The National Peer Educator Survey (NPES) began in 2004 as a way for college health experts and administrators to assess outcomes of peer educators (Wawrzynski, LoConte, & Straker, 2011). A college peer educator is a student in a leadership role who influences and encourages fellow students to create and maintain healthy lifestyle choices while in college (Newton & Ender, 2010). In their role, peer educators become mentors to their fellow students, positively influencing their college experience. While peer education was often recognized for its positive influence on student growth and development, little was known about the benefits to peer educators themselves. The NPES was created to provide evidence-based research regarding outcomes for being a peer educator on a college or university campus.

Furthermore, the NPES collects self-reported learning outcomes and perceptions experienced by students participating as peer educators within programs affiliated with Student Affairs Adminstrators in Higher Education (NASPA). Today, data and insight from the NPES reports are utilized by advisors and college administrators to strengthen peer education programs and promote peer educator learning and development.

Data Collection

Learning Outcomes: The NPES was developed through a multi-step process of analyzing desired learning outcomes for undergraduate college peer educators. Six learning domains from the Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) were used to identify growth in a number of areas such as knowledge, application, attitudes, and skill-sets. The six learning domains are cognitive complexity; practical competence; intrapersonal development; interpersonal development; knowledge acquisition, construction, integration, and application; humanitarianism and civic engagement.

Demographics: The NPES has recorded data from over 4,000 students participating in peer educator programs. The survey records demographic data such as age, race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and academic class year. The demographic data are used to track the changes in trends of students who become peer educators.

Motivations: In 2009, the NPES began studying students’ intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for becoming peer educators. Motivations are self-reported, and they provide important insight for recruitment and development of college peer educators.

Training: The NPES records data regarding topics covered in peer educator training, and it provides recommendations to advisors for strengthening the growth and development of peer educators.

Trends & Comparisons

Institutional Types: Over 300 different institutions in the United States and Canada have participated in the NPES, representing over seven different Carnegie-type classifications. From 2-year community colleges to 4-year research universities, the NPES casts a wide distribution of institutional-types, which allows for important comparisons to be made along with national trends.

Longitudinal Trends: With over 10 years of data, the NPES is able to analyze peer educator trends in areas such as learning outcomes, demographics, motivations, and training. Trends gleaned from longitudinal data will help peer education advisors and affiliates understand how peer educators have changed over time. As a result, advisors are able to strategize new and innovative ways to recruit and develop this population of students.  

For more information or interest in participating, contact the NPES project coordinator at [email protected]

Benefits for advisors

Student affairs professionals who work with peer educators have benefited greatly from information and insights provided by data gleaned from the NPES. With detailed outcomes and metrics, the NPES provides evidence peer education programs are beneficial to students who participate as peer educators. As a result, advisors are able to expand their programs and bolster efforts to recruit high-quality peer educators. Justifying initiatives and accreditation reviews, the NPES serves as a powerful tool for advisors as they continue to promote peer education on their college or university campuses.

The NPES institutional reports provide important comparisons between institutional-types and averages, which aids advisors to keep programming, training and development current with national trends. An example above shows composite scores for the learning domain Humanitarianism & Civic Engagement compared among six Carnegie-type institutional classifications, as showcased in our NPES 2017-18 National Report.

"The NPES has been a great tool so that we are able to share the data we collect as part of our overall assessment of our program"- Jim Almeida (Advisor) Illinois State University

"The NPES data helped us see the development areas that we were missing, meeting, and exceeding. Peer education is a great tool for spreading information, but it is also an even greater tool for retention and student development" - Brittney Vigna (Advisor) University of Alabama

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