Findings from the HEA’s Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) 2014 show that 83% of taught postgraduates in the UK were satisfied overall with the quality of their course, and that 82% of students are positive about the learning and teaching they experience.
Overwhelmingly students supported the view that staff are good at explaining things (88% agreement) and enthusiastic about what they are teaching (90%).
67,580 taught postgraduate (PGT) students responded to PTES 2014, with 100 higher education providers taking part. This is the biggest-ever survey sample of postgraduate students in the UK.
The survey, which has been running for six years, has been brought right up-to-date, reflecting the sector’s increasing focus on student engagement, information provision and widening participation.
Key findings include:
- 86% of students said that information about course choice was easy to find.
- Flexible delivery is an important aspect of course choice for almost half of part-time students compared to just one-in-ten full-time students.
- 82% of students agreed that they have become more confident about independent learning and developing research skills.
- In new questions about student engagement, four-in-five students said they were challenged to produce their best work, with 87% of students saying they were encouraged to participate in class.
- The main sources of funding cited by students were family or friends, personal income and savings – this was applicable for course fees and even more so in respect of living costs.
- Students with no known disability are more likely to rate their experience highly than those with a disability.
- 83% agreed the library resources and services met their needs and 86% agreed that they could access IT facilities as required.
- 58% of students cited career progression as a reason for choosing their current course, compared to 38% citing a wish to progress to a higher level qualification. However, the survey also showed that students have many different motivations, suggesting that courses should cater for multiple aspirations, rather than be exclusively ‘professional’ or ‘research’ focused.
Dr Mark Jones, Director of Services, HEA said:
“I’m delighted that the survey shows that the overwhelming majority of postgraduate taught students are positive about the learning and teaching they receive. Working with higher education providers to enhance learning and teaching is the HEA’s core mission.
“We must work together to continue to improve the postgraduate experience for students, and to ensure that provision is suited to all groups of the population. The results from this survey will help to inform future work at the HEA, such as the development of teaching toolkits and frameworks.”
The call for PTES 2015 is now open. For information, please go to www.heacademy.ac.uk/consultancy-services/surveys/ptes or email firstname.lastname@example.org.