170,000 judge life on campus

May 20, 2005

The verdict of six out of ten undergraduates on their experiences at university will form the basis of the first nationwide poll of students'

views, funding council chiefs revealed this week.

The results of the National Student Survey, which canvassed views in 141 institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, will be published in September.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England said this week that enough students had taken part in the study - 170,000 or 60 per cent of those polled - for the results to be "statistically reliable".

The aim of the survey is to give applicants for 2006 more information about what students think of their course and institution.

Students were asked to rate on a scale of one to five teaching quality, how good staff were at explaining issues, whether staff were enthusiastic and whether the course was intellectually stimulating.

They were also asked to rate the organisation of the course, timetabling and the quality of university facilities.

The results will be published on the Teaching Quality Information website ( www.tqi.ac.uk ).

Liz Beaty, Hefce's director of learning and teaching, said: "Applicants to higher education will have the views of final-year students to help them choose between courses and institutions that best suit their needs and interests, alongside a range of other information available on the TQI website."

The survey was conducted by the independent market research company Ipsos UK. It said that although the target response rate was 50 per cent, it had reached 70 per cent in some institutions.

Hannah Essex, the National Union of Students' vice-president (education), said: "It is so important that students have the opportunity to feed back to others about their courses.

"Our members are keen to continue to be involved to ensure that this survey develops as an invaluable, comprehensive and useful resource," she added.

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