Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Student surveys and feedback: Strategic solution for all tertiary education institutions

Mahsood Shah, RMIT University
Chenicheri Sid Nair, University of Western Australia


In recent years, the student voice has gained significant prominence as a measure of quality outcome in learning and teaching. Various kinds of evaluations tools are now used in various countries to evaluate the student experience. In some countries like United Kingdom (UK), Sweden and in Australia, governments have introduced questionnaires to evaluate the student experience. In the UK the government uses the results of the National Student Survey (NSS) to publish institutional performance for public access. In Australia, the government is currently in the transition to review and implement a number of student survey instruments to measure student experience at all stages of study including graduate outcomes. Interestingly the new quality and regulatory framework in Australia will use student experience measures to assess and possibly reward institutions in coming years and the results of the survey will be published on the new My University website for public access. So far universities, vocational providers, and private for-profit providers have been using different kinds of internal and external student survey instruments to assess and in some cases improve student experience. This paper argues the need for the government to develop a strategic approach to student surveys and feedback which would be used with all kinds of tertiary education institutions rather than universities only. The development of a suite of national instruments would enable benchmarking with comparable providers and it will also ensure consistency across all types of institutions. The solution to the current problem with the use of different kinds of externally monitored survey instruments with different providers will ensure a sustainable approach to student feedback from an institution and student perspective.

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