Nearly 20,000 Students Provide Feedback in National Survey to Enhance their Higher Education Experience
The results of a national survey of third level students, published today (Tuesday 4th November 2014), will help Irish higher education institutions to enhance the quality of education they provide. Over 19,800 students across 30 higher education institutions responded to the survey and details of their experiences will be used to inform institutional and programme/course development, as well as national policy. It is the first system-wide survey of its kind in Europe and one of only a handful of similar surveys worldwide.
Participating institutions are committed to providing effective feedback on survey results and to taking appropriate action. A follow-up report will be published in January 2015 to provide examples of how individual institutions are making use of the evidence generated by this national survey.
Commenting on the 2014 Report, the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, said, “The Irish Survey of Student Engagement demonstrates the determination of Irish higher education institutions to listen to their students. I look forward to institutions using these findings, along with their other quality assurance mechanisms, to ensure that students’ engagement with their higher education continues to improve. In particular the follow-up report in January will be important in highlighting actions that individual institutions are taking on foot of this survey to continually improve the student experience.”
Following a successful pilot in 2013, the first full survey was offered in 2014 to all first year undergraduate, final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students in thirty higher education institutions including all Universities, all Institutes of Technology and all Colleges of Education.
The Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) is designed to ask students directly about their full experience of higher education. Student feedback provides institutions with valuable information to identify effective practice and provision and to prompt awareness of, and action on, any particular issues or challenges that affect students.
President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Laura Harmon, said “With almost twenty thousand responses, this is one of the clearest pictures we have of students’ opinions of their college experience. College staff and Students’ Unions must now work together to ensure these issues are being followed up at an institutional level. The ISSE project has been successful in its initial years, but it’s now vital that results are acted upon so that students feel they are really being listened to.”
Student engagement with institutional life is a vital ingredient to ensure that students develop key skill-sets such as critical thinking, problem-solving, writing skills, team work and communication skills.
Some results from the 2014 survey
- 63% of all participating students selected often or very often, when asked if they were improving knowledge and skills that will contribute to their employability (62% in 2013 pilot)
- 67% of all participating students reported positive relationships with teaching staff, finding them to be available, helpful and sympathetic (a score of 5 or greater on 7 point scale). (72% in 2013 pilot)
- 52% of all participating students selected quite a bit, or very much when asked if they were solving complex real world problems (50% in 2013 pilot)
- 80% of all participating students selected good or excellent, when asked how they would evaluate their entire educational experience at their institution (79% in 2013 pilot)
- 65% of all participating students selected often or very often, when asked if they used an online learning system to complete an assignment (60% in 2013 pilot)
- 60% of all participating students selected often or very often, when asked if they had conversations with students of a different ethnicity/nationality (58% in 2013 pilot)
- 29% of all participating students selected plan to or done, when asked if they were considering Study abroad/student exchange (25% in 2013 pilot)
- 78% of all participating students selected quite a bit or very much, when asked if they spend a significant amount of time studying and on academic work (76% in 2013 pilot).
The ISSE project is funded by the HEA and co-sponsored by the Higher Education Authority, Institutes of Technology Ireland (IOTI), the Irish Universities Association (IUA) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). The survey was developed in response to a key recommendation of the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 that every higher education institution should put in place a comprehensive anonymous student feedback system to inform institutional and programme/course development, as well as national policy.
ISSE is based on best practice internationally as developed by the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) since 2007 and the US National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) since 2000.
For more information contact:
Sean O’Reilly, Project Manager, Irish Survey of Student Engagement
Sean.firstname.lastname@example.org 01 7082952 085 8194551
Notes for the Editor:
More information can be found on www.studentsurvey.ie
Report: The Irish Survey of Student Engagement – Results from 2014 (attached)
- The Higher Education Authority (HEA) is the statutory policy and funding body for higher education
- Institutes of Technology, Ireland (IOTI) is the representative body for thirteen of Ireland’s Institutes of Technology
- The Irish Universities Association (IUA) is the representative body for Ireland’s seven universities
- The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) is the national representative body for students in higher education.