Student Experience

Information on the QILT website about student learning experiences is sourced from the Student Experience Survey (SES).

The SES is the only comprehensive survey of current higher education students in Australia. Around 145,000 first and later year undergraduate students from Australian universities and non-university higher education institutions (NUHEIs) participated in the 2015 SES. The survey is designed to collect information that will help both higher education institutions and the government improve teaching and learning outcomes, and reports on multiple facets of the student experience.

The SES is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training and in 2015 was administered by the Social Research Centre. The previous University Experience Survey (UES) was renamed the Student Experience Survey (SES) in 2015 to facilitate the inclusion of students from NUHEIs. Other than minor changes in wording to ensure the instrument was relevant to all higher education students, the SES remains relatively unchanged from the 2014 UES.

The six indicators from the SES displayed on this website each show the percentage of students satisfied with various aspect of their higher education experience. Survey results from 2014 and 2015 are pooled to improve the reliability of the information. The indicators relate to:

  1. Overall quality of educational experience
  2. Teaching quality
  3. Learner engagement
  4. Learning resources
  5. Student support
  6. Skills development
SES indicator Description

Overall quality of educational experience

The percentage of students who are satisfied with the overall quality of their educational experience, based on an individual question in the SES. Note that this question also forms part of the 'teaching quality indicator'.

Teaching quality

The percentage of students who are satisfied with the quality of teaching they have experienced. This indicator is based on the average of a student's responses to the following 11 questions from the SES:

Thinking about your course:

  1. overall how would you rate the quality of your entire educational experience this year?
  2. how would you rate the quality of the teaching you have experienced?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have the lecturers, tutors and demonstrators:

  1. engaged you actively in learning?
  2. demonstrated concern for student learning?
  3. provided clear explanations on coursework and assessment?
  4. stimulated you intellectually?
  5. commented on your work in ways that help you learn?
  6. seemed helpful and approachable?
  7. set assessment tasks that challenge you to learn?

In 2014 - 2015, to what extent has your course been delivered in a way that is:

  1. well structured and focused?
  2. relevant to your education as a whole?
Learner engagement

The percentage of students who are satisfied with their engagement with learning at their institution. This indicator is based on the average of a student's responses to the following seven questions from the SES:

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you:

  1. felt prepared for your study?
  2. had a sense of belonging to your institution?

In 2014 - 2015, how frequently have you:

  1. participated in discussions online or face-to-face?
  2. worked with other students as part of your study?
  3. interacted with students outside study requirements?
  4. interacted with students who are very different from you?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you:

  1. been given opportunities to interact with local students (where applicable for international students)?

Note that Learner engagement results do not include survey responses from students studying by distance education, because the current form of questions used in the SES may not adequately capture the Learner engagement experience of these students.

Learning resources

The percentage of students who are satisfied with the learning resources provided by their institution. This indicator is based on the average of a student's responses to the following seven questions from the SES:

Thinking of this year, overall how would you rate the following learning resources provided by your course?

  1. Teaching spaces (e.g. lecture theatres, tutorial rooms, laboratories)
  2. Student spaces and common areas
  3. Online learning materials
  4. Computing/IT resources
  5. Assigned books, notes and resources
  6. Laboratory or studio equipment
  7. Library resources and facilities
Student support

The percentage of students who are satisfied with the support they received at their institution. This indicator is based on the average of a student's responses to the following 14 questions from the SES:

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you:

  1. received support from your institution to settle into study?
  2. experienced efficient enrolment and admissions processes?
  3. felt induction/orientation activities were relevant and helpful?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you found administrative staff or systems (e.g. online administrative services, frontline staff, enrolment systems) to be:

  1. available?
  2. helpful?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you found careers advisors to be:

  1. available?
  2. helpful?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you found academic or learning advisors to be:

  1. available?
  2. helpful?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you found support services such as counsellor, financial/legal advisors and health services to be:

  1. available?
  2. helpful?

During 2014 - 2015, to what extent have you:

  1. been offered support relevant to your circumstances?
  2. received appropriate English language skill support?
Skills development

The percentage of students who are satisfied with the skills development they experienced through their studies. This indicator is based on the average of a student's responses to the following eight questions from the SES:

To what extent has your course developed your:

  1. Critical thinking skills?
  2. Ability to solve complex problems?
  3. Ability to work with others?
  4. Confidence to learn independently?
  5. Written communication skills?
  6. Spoken communication skills?
  7. Knowledge of field(s) you are studying?
  8. Development of work-related knowledge and skills?

SES data on this website includes responses from both domestic and international on-shore undergraduate level students.

Care should be taken when interpreting results from the SES provided on this website. The results are estimates only, because they are based on a survey which was not completed by all students. The accuracy of the figures varies depending on the number of students who completed the survey. Confidence intervals are displayed to provide a measure of accuracy of the estimates.

For technical details about the calculations used to score data derived from the UES/SES please see the document, Technical Details - SES calculations.

Over 145,000 students responded to the 2015 Student Experience Survey, including 40 University and 39 Non-University Higher Education Institutions.

Author(s): The Social Research Centre

Type: Reports

Published: 2016

Over 100,000 students responded to the 2014 University Experience Survey, including for the first time students from non-university higher education institutions.

Author(s): Graduate Careers Australia and the Social Research Centre

Type: Reports

Published: 2015

ISBN: PDF 978-1-76028-129-8

ISBN: DOCX 978-1-76028-130-4

The 2013 University Experience Survey received responses from 100,000 students from Australia’s 40 Table A and Table B universities.

Author(s): Graduate Careers Australia and the Social Research Centre

Type: Reports

Published: 2014

ISBN: PDF 978-1-74361-508-9

ISBN: DOCX 978-1-74361-509-6

The 2012 University Experience Survey is the largest ever survey of 110,000 current university students, administered among all Table A and Table B universities in 2012.

Author(s): Ali Radloff, Hamish Coates, Rebecca Taylor, Richard James, Kerri-Lee Krause

Type: Reports

Published: 2013

ISBN: PDF 978-0-642-78262-5

ISBN: RTF 978-0-642-78263-2

Report on the Development of the University Experience Survey reports on the development process and findings of the pilot study undertaken to construct and develop a new survey of university student experience. The University Experience Survey was administered to 24 universities as one of a number of initiatives being developed by the Australian Government to help ensure the ongoing improvement in the quality of teaching and learning in Australian universities.

Author(s): Ali Radloff, Hamish Coates, Richard James, Kerri-Lee Krause

Type: Reports

Published: 2012

ISBN: PDF 978-1-922218-38-4

ISBN: RTF 978-1-922218-39-1