The QILT survey is out and the Education Minister suggests universities have a good look at the data
Undergraduates surveyed for the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching 2019 report a 78 per cent overall satisfaction rate with their overall education experience. This is down marginally on last year (78.9 per cent) but enough of a drop for Education Minister Dan Tehan to point out that it is the lowest score in the survey’s history. “I encourage all universities to look deeply at the results for their institution and continue to focus on how to improve the student experience,” he says.
The 2019 top performers are unchanged, the University of Divinity rates highest with a 99.2 per cent overall positive ranking, followed by University of Notre Dame, 88 per cent and Bond U, 87.2 per cent, well above the all uni-average of 78.4 per cent. Other unis five per cent above average include Deakin U, 83.5 per cent, Edith Cowan U, 83.3 per cent and UNE, 83.2 per cent
There is improvement at the other end of the scale, with universities that scored under 75 per cent last year lifting above it this, albeit not by much; Victoria U (75.4 per cent), Charles Darwin U (75.2 per cent).
However, Uni Sydney does badly, staying under 75 per cent for the third year running. And UNSW does worse, at 62.9 per cent, although the university attributes this to the launch of its new academic year, (below).
Overall, the student experience stays the same with annual scores moving up and down by a maximum of three per cent in the nine surveys since 2011 for skills development, learner engagement, teaching quality and learning resources. The outlier is student support, where removing a question in 2014 prevents an all-surveys comparison.
As to non-university providers – the survey results range from extraordinary to appalling; there are providers that students just love. Like the Jazz Music Institute (in Brisbane) which has an overall student satisfaction score of 97.4 per cent and the Adelaide Central School of Art with 96.7 per cent. And there are others they don’t. Like private providers scoring in the 40s. And TAFE NSW (76.5 per cent), TAFE SA (71.7 per cent) and TAFE Queensland (73.2 per cent) are all below the NUHEP average of 79.4 per cent.
What it means. Staff at the excellent Social Research Centre, which creates QILT will be having conniptions this morning as hacks like CMM generalise about their carefully calibrated data and analysis that goes no further than the stats allow. There is, they point out every year a “negative association” between institution size and student ratings, which goes a way to explaining the top and bottom raters. But this should not cheer low rating institutions – there are now nine years of student ratings in QILT, and the results stay much the same.
Generations of students are sending unis and colleges consistent messages.