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Student surveys

The University runs a number of surveys throughout the academic year.

These include university-wide surveys, surveys within your college, your department or about your course or a specific service provided to you. We work closely with Oxford SU to design and run these and analyse the results. Your feedback is always important to help evaluate and improve the student experience for current and future students. You can find out about other ways to engage with students on the Student Engagement page. 

The following surveys are due in Trinity term 2022:

  • Digital Education Technologies Student Survey (DETSS). Opens May 2022.
  • PTES (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey). Opened March 2022.
  • PGS (Postgraduate Survey Pilot). By the Office for Students. Opened April 2022.

Please note that there are two different Postgraduate Taught surveys being carried out at the University of Oxford during the Spring and PGT students will be contacted and asked to complete both. 

The Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is a national, annual survey that we are running for the third time this year. It is very important to us that we measure and monitor PGT experience every year especially with the impact of the pandemic in the past two years. 

The Postgraduate Survey (PGS) is a pilot exercise carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Office for Students (the UK higher education regulatory body). This survey is designed to be like the National Student Survey (NSS), but for the PGT population. It will be rolled out to all universities next year and has the potential to replace the PTES survey in the longer term. For that reason we thought it was important for Oxford to participate in the pilot to help and shape this survey. This is in order to make sure it provides us with suitable information on our students’ experience.

University-wide surveys

Digital Education Technologies Student Survey (DETSS)

The Digital Education Technologies Student Survey (DETSS) is run by the Centre for Teaching and Learning and aims to shape and improve the use of digital education tools at Oxford. Feedback will be used to help improve the use of facilities like Canvas, Oxford Reading Lists Online (ORLO), Panopto and MS Teams.  The survey is new and will run in May 2022. 

Student suggestions will be considered by the relevant support teams. If actionable, they will be attended to as soon as possible or put on a wish list for development and subjected to further scrutiny. 

PTES and PRES surveys

The University has opted to make the Postgraduate Taught/Research Experience Surveys (PTES and PRES) our primary method of obtaining feedback from postgraduate students. Postgraduate taught students are surveyed with PTES every year while postgraduate research students are surveyed with PRES every other year (next administration will take place in 2022/23 academic year) In the 2020/21 academic year both surveys included questions relating to the pandemic, including initiatives introduced by the University such as the COVID Assistance Fund. 

The surveys allow us to compare how we are doing with other institutions and to make changes that will improve the postgraduate experience in the future.

PTES 2021 results:

  • PTES 2021 was launched in HT 21 and was open between 23 March and 17 June. There were 6,351 active PGT and PG Cert students invited to take part and 794 responses were received, resulting in a response rate of 12.5%. The survey sample is representative of the wide Oxford PGT population.
  • Generally Oxford scored lower than the Sector and a selection of the Russell Group institutions in all areas of student experience but dissertations. It is likely that the pandemic and remote teaching influenced some of the most pronounced decreases.
  • Overall, 69% of respondents agreed they were satisfied with the quality of their course. This is markedly lower than 76% in 2020 and is likely to be caused by the remote teaching in HT 21.
  • Teaching staff (75% satisfied) and dissertation support (77% satisfied) are regarded very highly by students. The Assessment and Feedback did not see any substantial decreases since last year. Online library resources (68%) and access to course specific resources (68%) were also rated high.
  • Items such as contact time (49% satisfied), engagement with peers (50%) and support at the beginning of the course (50%) were rated relatively low and lower than in 2020.
  • Only 59% of respondents agreed they received the support they needed from the University in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. The awareness of various University provisions due to Covid-19 was rather low (fewer than 50% of respondents for most of them). However the vast majority of those who used them, found them helpful or very helpful.

PRES 2021 results:

  • The PRES 2021 survey was open between 24th of March and 17th of May 2021. All active PGR students (7,139) were invited to take part. There were 744 replies received resulting in a response rate of 10.4%. The sample is broadly representative of the divisional split in the Oxford PGR population.
  • In general, it is clear that DPhil students were affected by a pandemic to a much lesser extent than PGT students. Overall, 73% of respondents were satisfied with their experience of their research degree programme. This is lower than 79% in 2020. However, 71% of respondents were confident they would complete their programme on time, which remained the same as last year.
  • In general PRES scale scores in 2021 have decreased slightly since 2020, but the only marked decrease can be noticed for research culture, especially lack of opportunities to discuss research with peers. Supervision (82%) and Research skills (79%) remain the highest rated scales. Resources are also rated very highly (75% satisfied) including online resources.
  • Respondents from the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions tend to be less satisfied with their programme in general compared to other divisions, particularly in areas such as access to course-specific resources and training to develop their research and transferable skills.
  • There was a varied level of awareness among respondents of the University’s Covid-19 provisions. The majority (69%) were aware of the additional extension and suspension rules and 60% were aware of the Scholarship Extension Fund. Far fewer were aware of wellbeing workshops and additional counselling sessions. The uptake of these provisions was generally low (between 13% and 2% of respondents) but the vast majority of those who experienced them found them helpful.
  • Respondents’ wellbeing scores decreased slightly during the pandemic but so did the anxiety levels. Females were likely to display higher anxiety levels overall, but males were becoming more anxious the longer they were on the programme. Those residing in Oxford had lower wellbeing scores than those staying somewhere else in the UK or abroad.

All of this provided useful information to feed into our research, teaching and quality panels and help us to understand postgraduate experiences and enable the University to consider how we can look to improve programmes and the support received whilst studying at Oxford.

Student Barometer 

The Student Barometer surveys all full-time and part-time undergraduate, postgraduate taught and postgraduate research students in 2021/22 academic year and will survey undergraduates only in 2022/23 academic year.

The survey enables the University to benchmark your feedback on the student experience from application to graduation, against those of 120 other universities.

Results from previous years can be seen below on the Tableau data visualisation tool, which also allows you to compare results between colleges and departments over the years:

Student Barometer results - 2010-2020

The results and the comments you submitted are being analysed on a confidential and anonymous basis by a wide range of departments/faculties, colleges and central services across the collegiate University as we consider both the quantitative and qualitative feedback you provided. Your comments are very insightful and provide us an evaluation of your student experience so far and an impetus for change and improvements.

National Student Survey

The National Student Survey is a national survey of all students at UK universities, run by the Office for Students. It is aimed mainly at final-year undergraduates, and feedback not only contributes to improvements in the facilities, resources and teaching on offer to current students, but also helps prospective students choose the right institution and course for them. It usually takes place between January and April each year.

Other regular surveys

Departments and faculties carry out surveys on individual courses and use lecture questionnaires to gain feedback on the quality of lectures. The views of students are also represented by undergraduate and postgraduate Joint Consultative Committees (JCC).
Colleges collect feedback from students through tutorial evaluation questionnaires, college questionnaires, students and tutors/college advisers meetings, and annual meetings between students and their senior tutor and/or head of house.

Student feedback channel

In addition to formal surveys, the University and Oxford SU have been working together to get a better understanding of students’ studying and other experiences. An open feedback channel was launched in Trinity term 2020, enabling students to share their feedback about how learning and wider Oxford experiences had been via a short Oxford SU online form.

It offers students a chance to give examples of where things are going well, and make suggestions for improvements. The channel was launched again at the beginning of each term in 2020/21, and opened again on 31st January 2022. Students can fill it in more than once, and at any time. Students’ ideas and feedback are anonymised and communicated back to staff, supervisors and tutors across the University. You can view the summaries of student feedback from previous terms on the project reports page of the Centre for Teaching and Learning website.

Survey for leavers

The Graduate Outcomes Survey

Graduate Outcomes is a national survey of graduates 15 months after they leave university; the survey asks all leavers about their employment, further study, or other activities. The information you provide helps to inform prospective students’ choices, develop higher education policy, and enables universities to make improvements for their students. Find out more on the Graduate Outcomes website.

Destination of leavers

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey asks what leavers were doing six months after they qualified from their course to provide detailed analysis of career paths.

Destination of leavers results

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