Student Experience Survey
In the past the Business School has had difficulty persuading final-year students to complete The National Student Survey. Each year the launching of the survey overlaps with the submission of honours dissertations, so students may have higher priorities at the time. The results of the students survey are important to the School because they feed into the calculation of most undetgraduate programme league tables. Last years results are also published on the Unistats website. The low satisfaction with the School’s feedback has triggered pressure to improve student feedback and the low satisfaction across the University with student support has led to the Director of Studies system being replaced by the Personal Tutor systems. We shall be able to give more feedback on the effectiveness of these responses next year.
The University has now introduced parallel surveys for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year students, with all students invited to complete an online survey by 1 March. The questions draw on the questions in the National Survey, but with additional questions. Although the results of the survey will be published next year, the questionnaire has not been published, so it will come as surprise to the students when they go online to complete it.
The key, but inelegantly framed, statement is: “Overall, I am satisfied with what I have got out of my University experience so far”. As with many service quality monitoring questionnaires, the measuring of satisfaction is implictly being compared to an expectation of “what I should have got out of my University experience so far”, but the University has little detailed insight into what students expect to get, and even less into why they expect to get it.
The response of the univerity to the weaknesses identified in the National Survey’s has tended to be to introduce additional procedures, as seen in assessment feedback and in the reqwuirements for students to meet their Personal Tutor once per semester. The alternative, or supplementary, approach would be to increase transparency by publishing all course level survey reports in detail with comparative statistics between courses. Publishing the marks distribution for courses would also be valuable for students.
If you are an undergraduate student, completing the survey helps the School level identify what we we can do better, the sacrifice of ten minutes of your time will help future generations of students. If you complete the survey you may win an iPad. Other, less scrupulous, universities might also point out that it is in students’ interests that their programme is highly rated so that when the league tables are published and the transfer window opens it will look more like they have been playing for Chelsea rather than QPR.