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StudentSurvey.ie (the Irish Survey of Student Engagement) is the Irish national survey of first year and final year undergraduate and taught postgraduate students that runs annually across the following 21 higher education institutions (HEIs):

  • Atlantic Technological University
  • Dublin Business School
  • Dublin City University
  • Dundalk Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dundalk
  • Marino Institute of Education
  • Mary Immaculate College
  • Maynooth University
  • Munster Technological University
  • National College of Ireland
  • RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • South East Technological University
  • Technological University Dublin
  • Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University College Cork
  • University of Galway
  • University of Limerick

The survey is designed to focus on student engagement, namely the amount of time and effort that students put into meaningful and purposeful educational activities, and the extent to which institutions provide such opportunities and encourage students to engage with them. The data collected reflects students’ self-reported perceptions of their experiences.

Since 2013, over 350,000 students have taken part in the survey. These students have created a large and valuable data set of their experiences of higher education.

Why was StudentSurvey.ie developed?

The survey was developed was to provide benefits to each institution and its students by helping to improve feedback and appropriate follow up action.

The objectives of StudentSurvey.ie are:

  • To increase transparency in relation to the student experience of and engagement with higher education.
  • To enable direct student input in expressing their experience and engagement with their higher education institution.
  • To facilitate higher education institutions’ efforts to reflect that engagement and those experiences in their policy and practice in an impactful way.
  • To help institutions identify areas of strength in how students engage, so they can continue and strengthen these practices.
  • To help institutions identify areas requiring further development or improvement in how students engage so they can respond.
  • To serve as a guide for continual enhancement of institutions’ teaching and learning and student engagement.
  • To facilitate comparison with other higher education systems nationally, sectorally and internationally.

How did StudentSurvey.ie evolve?

When the survey was being piloted, project working groups reviewed international experiences and decided to use established engagement surveys as the basis for formulating StudentSurvey.ie. In particular, the survey questions used in Australia and New Zealand in the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement (AUSSE) were determined to be the most appropriate starting point. The AUSSE was based on the US National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) which had been in use since 2000.

When does StudentSurvey.ie take place?

Each participating institution selects a specific three-week period during February and March to open the survey for their students. This allows the national survey to take account of local events and other demands on students’ time to increase the benefit of the survey at local level.

Who is responsible for the StudentSurvey.ie initiative?

StudentSurvey.ie is co-sponsored by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), institutions’ representative bodies (the Irish Universities Association, IUA, and the Technological Higher Education Association, THEA) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

It is managed as a collaborative partnership with a Steering Group consisting of representatives of the HEA, IUA, THEA, USI, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), and participating HEIs which maintains the strategic direction of the national project, together with working groups consisting of institutions’ and students’ representatives who manage the national project itself. A project manager supports the working groups and reports to the co-sponsoring organisations and the provision of the online survey system is out-sourced to an external third-party company (i-graduate).

How is StudentSurvey.ie administered?

Eligible students from each participating institution receive an email from i-graduate with a link enabling them to complete the survey over the designated 3-week period agreed in advance with the relevant institution.

Following the end of the survey period, the resultant data set is anonymised, and staff and student representatives analyse the data with national results captured in an annual report, which highlights students’ feedback and opinions. The national results are used to shape national policy. In addition, each participating institution is provided with a copy of their own anonymised data set so they can use the data to enhance the experience for students, through the enhancement of facilities, supports, and the learning environment.

What types of questions does the StudentSurvey.ie consist of?

The survey consists of 64 questions which are summarised as 10 indicators/categories as follows:

  1. Higher-Order Learning - the extent to which students’ work emphasises challenging cognitive tasks such as application, analysis, judgement, and synthesis.
  2. Reflective and Integrative Learning - the extent to which students relate their own understanding and experiences to the learning content being used.
  3. Quantitative Reasoning - the extent to which students have opportunities to develop their skills to reason quantitatively – to evaluate, support, or critique arguments using numerical and statistical information.
  4. Learning Strategies - the extent to which students actively engage with and analyse course material, rather than approaching learning passively.
  5. Collaborative Learning - the extent to which students collaborate with peers to solve problems or to master difficult material, thereby deepening their understanding.
  6. Student-Faculty Interaction - the extent to which students interact with academic staff which can positively influence students’ cognitive growth, development, and persistence.
  7. Effective Teaching Practices -- the extent to which students experience teaching practices that contribute to promoting comprehension and learning.
  8. Quality of Interactions - the extent to which students experience supportive relationships with a range of other people and roles on campus, thereby contributing to students’ ability to find assistance when needed and to learn from and with those around them.
  9. Supportive Environment - the extent to which students perceive how much their higher education institution emphasises services and activities that support their learning and development.
  10. Learning, Creative and Social Skills - the extent to which students’ experience in their institution contributed to their knowledge, skills, and personal development of a variety of learning, creative, and social skills.

Where can I get further information about StudentSurvey.ie?

Further information can be found on the StudentSurvey.ie website. You may find the following pages particularly useful:

  • FAQs for institutional staff – which contains answer to some of the most frequently asked questions by institute staff.
  • Reports  - which contains:
    • Links to download the National Reports, the most recent as well as all previous reports since 2013.
    • Links to articles/chapters, and/or the papers published in academic journals about results from StudentSurvey.ie and PGR StudentSurvey.ie.
  • Results – which contains links to high-level results for each participating institution.

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