Higher Education Student Engagement Scale (HESES): Development and psychometric evidence

Ching Hsiang ZHOC, Beverley J. WEBSTER, Ronnel Bornasal KING, Johnson C. H. LI, Tony S. H. CHUNG

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This study describes the development and validation of the Higher Education Student Engagement Scale (HESES). The psychometric evaluations of the scale included: (i) factor structure, (ii) internal consistency, and (iii) criterion validity. The HESES was developed based on our proposed five-factor model of student engagement, which was evolved from Finn and Zimmer's ( In: Christenson SL, Reschly AL, Wylie C (eds) Handbook of research on student engagement. Springer, New York, 2012) student engagement model taken into account the distinctive characteristics in higher education. The five main facets of student engagement include: (1) academic engagement, (2) cognitive engagement, (3) social engagement with peers, (4) social engagement with teachers, and (5) affective engagement. The HESES was developed from the 61-item First Year Engagement Scales (FYES). For brevity, it was trimmed into a 28-item scale having regard to the content validity, factor loadings and error variances of the items. The CFA results supported the correlated five-dimensional model with all the dimensions showing high internal consistency based on Cronbach's alpha coefficients. A multi-group CFA also rendered the structure as gender invariant. Its criterion validity was evidenced by its correlations with different student learning outcomes and more importantly, its predictive power in explaining variances of GPA (15%) and satisfaction of the university experience (29%). Different from the dominant behavioral perspective of student engagement in higher education, the HESES is based on a psychological perspective, streamlining student engagement as students' level of involvement in the learning process and a multi-faceted construct with academic, cognitive, social and affective dimensions. The implications and merits of the HESES are discussed. Copyright © 2018 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-244
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online dateMay 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


Zhoc, K. C. H., Webster, B. J., King, R. B., Li, J. C. H., & Chung, T. S. H. (2019). Higher Education Student Engagement Scale (HESES): Development and psychometric evidence. Research in Higher Education, 60(2), 219-244. doi: 10.1007/s11162-018-9510-6


  • Student engagement
  • Higher education
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA)
  • Factor structure
  • Measurement


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