Australia's new university graduates have mixed feelings about the quality of teaching they received.
A survey of 1999 graduates found that only two in five rated their teaching as good.
They were particularly scathing about their lecturers. Only a third of architecture and law graduates rated their teachers as good.
Arts graduates gave their lecturers the highest score - just over half said they thought the teaching good - while 45 per cent of science students believed theirs to have been good.
The course experience questionnaire is distributed annually by the Graduate Careers Council of Australia to 100,000 degree-holders four months after they have completed their courses. It asks them to rate their levels of agreement or disagreement with 25 items in five areas: good teaching; clear goals and standards; appropriate workload; appropriate assessment and generic skills; and an overall satisfaction rating.
The survey reported marked differences over teaching satisfaction and university size. Teaching in small universities was generally rated more highly than in larger ones. "(But) it is unclear whether this result should be interpreted as supporting the idea that 'small is beautiful' or whether there is some other basis for the relationship," the report says.
Almost 70 per cent of graduates said they were satisfied overall with their courses, while 11 per cent said they were dissatisfied. Men tended to be more positive than women about their university experience. Older students were happier with their courses than younger.
Federal education minister David Kemp said the survey was valuable for "managing performance and accountability". The results showed that graduate satisfaction overall was high and had been rising since 1993.
Letters, page 15