Universities called to account: largest ever survey of student satisfaction

THE days of universities advertising how happy their students are with only anecdotal evidence are ending with today's start of the largest survey of Australian undergraduates.

Commencing today 400,000 first and final year students at all 37 public universities, plus participating private institutions, will start receiving emails asking  their opinions of their course and teaching material, their interaction with teachers and support staff and whether what they are studying "is relevant to their education as a whole". 

It also asks them to assess whether their studies are developing generic skills in problem solving, critical thinking, work related knowledge and communications. 

The survey sample is segmented by up to 45 fields with individuals sorted by course area and a range of demographic characteristics.

The Australian Council for Educational Research is leading the consortium which has designed and will oversee the project for the federal government.

ACER research director Hamish Coates says the team is looking for a 25 per cent response rate.

"This is a nationally comprehensive collection - no one has ever done anything on this scale before."

The results "may be published on the My University website," ACER's launch announcement cautiously states. 


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