Advance HE’s annual Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) attracted a record response rate in 2018, with 85,880 students from over 100 UK higher education institutions participating in the survey.
The headline finding of PTES is that the overall satisfaction among students remains high, with just one in 10 students saying they were not satisfied with their experience. The high satisfaction is mainly due to the very positive perceptions of teaching delivery, with 89% of students reporting that staff are enthusiastic about what they teach. This figure remains high despite a slight dip in satisfaction levels this year, which may have in part been affected by strike action during the UCU pension dispute this academic year.
Other key findings from the report include:
- A greater focus on the perceptions and experiences of different ethnic groups among UK students. The results highlight the challenges institutions face in meeting the needs of students from particular backgrounds, including those of Asian or Mixed ethnicity and those identifying as Gypsy or Traveller.
- Just 63% of students agree that they feel encouraged to be involved in decisions about how their course is run. (Although this figure has seen significant improvement since 2014 when it was identified in PTES as an area in need of enhancement.)
- There is a surprisingly strong link between levels of satisfaction and the motivational factors behind student choices of where and what to study and analysis shows that the more factors a student recognises as having motivated their choice of study and institution, the more positive they are. However, students with less motivating factors may be more likely to drop out.
Jonathan Neves, Advance HE’s Head of Business Intelligence and Surveys, said: “PTES is a robust barometer of the postgraduate taught student experience. The value of PTES is that it helps institutions benchmark their programmes and provides the evidence base to make informed improvements to the student academic experience.
“It’s very encouraging that 89% of participants agree they are satisfied with the overall quality of their course, and credit should be given to those planning and delivering these programmes. This year the survey has shone a light on those minority groups whose voices need to be heard.
“We look forward to running PTES again in Spring 2019 and continuing our vital work with institutions.”
The PTES 2018 report is now available to download.