The Office for Students is developing options for a feedback survey for taught postgraduate (PGT) students in England.
We want to ensure all students have a positive experience of higher education, and are highly satisfied with the quality of teaching, learning, wider experience and outcomes. A key way to understand that experience is to hear from students themselves.
Currently undergraduate students can feed back their views through the National Student Survey and their insights have helped to improve teaching. However, there is no comparable opportunity for PGT students. Consequently the broad postgraduate voice is not as well represented, including in policy development.
We are therefore undertaking a programme of research and testing which, in time, will establish a survey that will provide PGT students with a similar opportunity to comment on their experience as undergraduates have through the NSS.
Student responses could be used to:
- increase transparency and accountability around taught postgraduate provision
- help prospective postgraduates make decisions about where to study
- help providers to improve the student experience.
In 2015, the UK higher education funding bodies consulted on the principle of a national survey of PGT as part of the Review of information about learning and teaching.
Responses to the consultation lent support for the development of proposals for a taught postgraduate survey.
The research developing a survey of postgraduate taught students was commissioned by the UK funding bodies to inform development of proposals. This final report explored the possible content of a taught postgraduate survey and made recommendations for its structure.
We are adopting an experimental approach to the development of a survey. The postgraduate student body and PGT courses are diverse and we will need to test different options – in terms of timing, methodology and content - so that our approach is robust.
Building on previous research we will:
- Run a sample survey of PGT students in spring 2019 to provide broad level insights into students’ perceptions of their experience. This will focus on OfS’ strategic priorities and will run in England only.
- Undertake a feasibility study to explore options for a census survey in the future. We will work with UK partners on opportunities to incorporate UK wide priorities where this will benefit students.
We have recently published an invitation to tender for a research study to test and conduct a sample survey of the taught postgraduate student experience.
Data from this research will be used to:
- shape and validate survey questions that are relevant PGT students at English providers
- provide broad insights into students perceptions of their experience
- contribute to our understanding of the taught postgraduate experience
- inform policy development
- inform the feasibility of developing a full census survey.
We will be contacting all providers in England later in the autumn inviting participation in the sample survey research.
Further information is available from [email protected]