Courses Fail to Deliver Quality ‘Assessment and Feedback’

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Results from the National Student Survey show that students from the University of Southampton rated their assessment and feedback at a mean score of 3.5 out of 5.

The result, which was taken from a survey of 2768 Southampton University students, marks ‘Assessment and Feedback’ as the category with the lowest mean score, particularly with regards to the lack of prompt and detailed feedback that helps to clarify things not understood. In which only 48% of students were satisfied. 3 /5 questions in the ‘Assessment and Feedback’ category fell below the threshold mean score of 3.5.

The University of Southampton has received a mean score of 3.5 in the category every year since the first National Student Survey back in 2006. Commenting on the result Students’ Union President, Billy Fitzjohn said, ‘With student fees having already risen in the last couple of years and thought by many to be likely to go up again, students are constantly looking for value for money. A score of 3.5 in feedback is simply not good enough’.

Elsewhere, the University of Southampton received a mean score of 4.0 or above in every category apart from Academic Support where they scored 3.9.  The table below shows the mean scores for the University of Southampton in each of the six categories of questions, and the overall quality of the course.

2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
Overall Quality of the Course 4.1 4.2 4.2 4.2 4.2
Teaching 4.1 4.2 4.1 4.1 4.1
Assessment and Feedback 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5
Academic Support 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.9
Organisation and Management 4.0 3.9 3.9 3.9 4.0
Learning Resources 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.4 4.3
Personal Development 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.1 4.0

Overall, 86% of students surveyed at the University of Southampton were satisfied with their course, giving a mean score of 4.1 in student satisfaction, a fall from the previous three years when it was up at 4.2.

Southampton’s score of 86% is higher than the national average student satisfaction rate of 82%. National student satisfaction rates are broadly similar to previous years. NUS President, Aaron Porter said ‘despite fees nearly trebling there has been no increase in student satisfaction. This year’s National Student Survey is a wake up call to university vice chancellors. They must buck up their ideas and do far more to improve the experience they offer students.” Porter further commented, ‘whilst it is pleasing to see that most students remain satisfied overall with their university experience, a significant proportion of students indicated that they were not satisfied with assessment and feedback, organisation and management or the academic support they received. It is clear that there is much room for improvement.”

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Discussion2 Comments

  1. avatar

    i think just out of principal, a lot of people dont put 5/5 (the hartley library is very good, but it could still be improved, for instance), so the drop by .1 means nothing at such a level, in my view. interesting that nothing has seemingly really changed in the 5 years – is that the uni not improving, or people not noticing the changes, or peoples approach to answering questionnaires not changing.

    how does the 30% rate of reply to the questionnaire compare to other universities? assuming there are around 7000 leavers each year, that seems low to me…

  2. avatar

    The University of Southampton provided contact details for 4183 final year undergraduates of which 2768 completed the survey resulting in a 66% response rate, which is a 3% increase on last year.

    The overall response rate nationwide was 63.1%, around 252, 000 students responded altogether about 30, 000 more than last year.

    When I spoke to Billy Fitzjohn he said the following, ‘There is clearly work to be done on the actual survey itself. I’d like to see more people filling the survey out. The results are a great tool, it acts as concrete information we can show the university’.

    Your questions about the survey seem extremely valid, I couldn’t agree more with what you said about the library and the general trends of the survey.

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