WHAT ARE WE MEASURING?
This survey is measuring student engagement. Student engagement with higher education is enhanced through exposing students to a high quality learning environment. Measuring engagement provides a means to develop a fuller understanding of the student experience above and beyond that ascertained through student satisfaction surveys. Engagement with college life is seen as important to facilitate in students the ability to develop key capabilities such as critical thinking, problem-solving, writing skills, teamwork and communication skills. Student engagement is enhanced through involving students in educational processes that enable them to construct their learning and knowledge.
New national survey for Postgraduate Research students
The first national survey for Postgraduate Research students ran as a pilot in 2018. The new survey is referred to as ISSE-PGR. Evaluation and feedback will enable the national ISSE partnership to determine appropriate next steps.
Improved survey for taught students from 2016
Following a detailed review of question items, a revised survey was introduced in 2016 and will be retained for future years. The revised questions are the result of experiences gained since the 2013 national pilot, analysis of three years’ resulting data, and related national and international developments. The survey has been improved by simplifying question items and by significantly reducing the overall number of questions, while maintaining the ability to compare with similar surveys internationally. [Note: A pilot survey for postgraduate research students will take place in 2018. This survey uses a different question set designed to reflect the research experience].
Why ask these questions?
When the Irish national survey was being piloted, project working groups reviewed international experiences and decided to use established engagement surveys as the basis for formulating the Irish Survey of Student Engagement. In particular, the survey questions used in Australia and New Zealand (the Australasian Survey of Student Engagement or 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.
A series of pre- and post-fieldwork testing of ISSE questions and of resulting data was undertaken. The same question set was used in 2013, 2014 and 2015. After reviewing three years’ data and experiences, the survey questions were revised for 2016.
Details of the testing undertaken for the national pilot are included in the 2013 report. Results of testing undertaken in subsequent years are available: