Student experience ratings for international students in Australia rise

Student experience ratings for international students in Australia rise

Student Experience Survey

The Student Experience Survey (SES) by the Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) is the only comprehensive survey of current higher education students in Australia which aims to drive quality improvement across all stakeholders. It provides a national architecture for collecting data on key aspects of the higher education student experience, both for domestic and international students. Conducted annually with a sample size of over 175,000 undergraduate students and 65,000 postgraduate coursework students, the survey focuses on measurable student experience aspects linked with learning and development outcomes, and potentially able to be influenced by higher education institutions. Some of these key aspects are: Skills Development, Learner Engagement, Teaching Quality, Student Support, and Learning Resources, as well as the international living experience and reasons for choosing to study at their institution and in Australia.


Survey results regarding international education

For the 2022 SES, there were 129 participating institutions, 42 of which were universities. It garnered a total of 52,316 valid online responses on the student level, achieving a 33.6% response rate. The results reveal that the rating for overall student experience improved in 2022, rising to 75.9% from 74% in 2021, and catching up to pre-pandemic levels (78.5% in 2019). The results also showed that the ratio of international students saying they had a positive experience rose to 74.4% from a low of 63% who said the same in 2020.


The survey says that “[i]nternational students ratings have historically trailed behind domestic student ratings but were on par or even higher in some areas in 2022.” Looking at the graph labelled “Quality of overall educational experience”, we can see an obvious gap between the ratings of domestic and international students from 2017 to 2021, but by 2022, the gap closes in by a huge margin as both points are clearly the nearest they have ever been, with only a 1.8% difference. This indicates that the level of satisfaction among domestic and international students is reaching a consensus while simultaneously increasing from the lows of the pandemic.


Survey results per measurable aspect

Regarding Learner Engagement, according to the survey, “[t]he Learner Engagement focus area experienced the largest drop in ratings in 2020 by both domestic and international undergraduate students, due to the lack of opportunities for students to interact with each other as learning was moved online. Ratings did improve somewhat for domestic students in 2021 but remained largely unchanged for international students. In 2022, ratings of Learner Engagement by international undergraduate students increased substantially, surpassing domestic student ratings and finishing at its highest[.] …. This change may partly be explained by the shift to online learning in 2020 and the border restrictions that remained in place in 2021.”


As for Learning Resources, “[t]he drop in ratings of Learning Resources in 2020 was more substantial for international students than it was for domestic students. While ratings steadily increased for domestic undergraduate students the past two years, they increased substantially for international undergraduate students in 2022. International students rely heavily on institutional provided resources to support their study, and like Learner Engagement, the impact of the shift to online learning and then the ongoing border closures are likely to have impacted international students more than domestic students.”


For Teaching Quality, which has the greatest influence on their ratings of the Quality of their entire educational experience, it has seen a significant increase from international students’ ratings, reaching the highest rating on record and finishing on par with domestic student ratings. The survey said that “[t]his increase in international student ratings of Teaching Quality will have contributed to the bigger increase in ratings of the Quality of [the] entire educational experience in 2022 than was seen for domestic students.”


From all these results from the survey, we can see how much student satisfaction was affected by the pandemic. Now we see how things have improved so significantly after the borders have reopened and how students, both domestic and international, have once again received the student experience that they have been accustomed to and expecting. We can also see how much each factor can affect a student’s experience, from the quality of teaching to where they will be living. In the end, the purpose of the survey is to provide insight and guidance for institutions and other stakeholders on how to improve the overall study experience for all students, so that they can enjoy their journey of learning and education.

Lastly, the survey says that “[c]lose to nine in 10 (86%) said they used an agent to help with visa applications or to enrol at institutions, with 93.2% rating the services positively.” We, as stakeholders ourselves, play an important role in supporting and guiding these students in their educational endeavours. To discover more ways to help students on their journey, like finding the best courses and institutions to fit their goals, contact our Business Development Managers today.

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