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GEES NSS Workshop 2010 Insights into interpreting the NSS Mark Langan, Alan Fielding & Peter Dunleavy Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Science.

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Presentation on theme: "GEES NSS Workshop 2010 Insights into interpreting the NSS Mark Langan, Alan Fielding & Peter Dunleavy Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 GEES NSS Workshop 2010 Insights into interpreting the NSS Mark Langan, Alan Fielding & Peter Dunleavy Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Science & Engineering Fielding, A.F., P.J.Dunleavy and A.M. Langan (2010) Effective use of the UK's National Student (Satisfaction) Survey (NSS) data in science and engineering subjects. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 33,

2 What makes a student satisfied? GEES NSS Workshop 2010

3 Structure Research evidence based on a range of quantitative approaches using national dataset (science subject focus) Discussion about implications of using NSS for decision-making in H.E. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

4 Based on Course Experience Questionnaire and considered robust in terms of the statistical measures; internal consistency, construct validity and concurrent validity. Measures six dimensions: teaching; assessment and feedback (sometimes considered separately); academic support; organisation and management; resources; and, personal development. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

5 Five point scale with 21 items and separate overall satisfaction rating (Q22) Thorough overview can be found in Surridge 2007 and Marsh and Cheng Take home message: the outputs are hierarchical in nature and not designed for simplistic league tables Note: satisfaction is a complex concept to measure and there are many approaches GEES NSS Workshop 2010

6 Data Level 3 (closest to Programme/Dept)NSS data from a)2007; b)2008; c)2009. Science subjects data pruned to remove subjects not taught at MMU (e.g. medicine). Still very large data sets (>40,000 cases per survey) GEES NSS Workshop 2010

7 NSS Questions Teaching (Teach) Q1 Staff are good at explaining things. Q2 Staff have made the subject interesting. Q3 Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching. Q4 The course is intellectually stimulating. Assessment fairness (Fairness) Q5 The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance. Q6 Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair. Assessment feedback (Feedback) Q7 Feedback on my work has been prompt. Q8 I have received detailed comments on my work. Q9 Feedback has helped me clarify things I did not understand.

8 NSS Questions Support (Support) Q10 I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies. Q11 I have been able to contact staff when I needed to. Q12 Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices. Management & Organisation (Org) Q13 The timetable works efficiently as far as my activities are concerned. Q14 Any changes in the course or teaching have been communicated effectively. Q15 The course is well organised and is running smoothly.

9 NSS Questions Learning Resources (Resources) Q16 The library resources and services are good enough for my needs. Q17 I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to. Q18 I have been able to access specialised equipment, facilities or room when I needed to. Personal Development (PD) Q19 The course has helped me present myself with confidence. Q20 My communication skills have improved. Q21 As a result of the course, I feel confident in tackling unfamiliar problems. Overall satisfaction (Overall) Q22 Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course.

10 Satisfaction Satisfaction is % of students answering 4 or 5 to a question. e.g. Q 1 Biology MMU – 95% of students were satisfied Note that dissatisfaction may tell a different story. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

11 Subject differences (general/national) Subject differences confound simple comparisons, examples from Medians for Qs 7, 8 & 9 plus 13, 14 & 15. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

12 Subject differences (science/national)

13 Biology results (2008)

14 GEES NSS Workshop 2010

15 What answers are correlated with Q22? Approach Use % in agreement with a question (answers 4 & 5 on 5 point scale) Simple correlation (ignoring subject) Correlation allowing for subject differences (ANCOVA) Repeat for each year Calculated for national dataset (three years) GEES NSS Workshop 2010

16 Annual national trends (ranks) Overall satisfaction is consistently related to: Teaching Quality, Support and Organisation. It only weakly related to Resources and Assessment, particularly feedback. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

17 Subject differences (Feedback Qs) Question Subjectpromptdetailedexplained Biological Sciencesr Physical Sciencesr*0.440*0.385*0.589 Physical Geographyr*0.675*0.377*0.566 Mathematical Sciencesr0.328*0.460*0.533 Computer Sciencesr *0.353 Mechanically based Engineeringr Electrical and Electronic Engineeringr Technologyr* Human Geographyr *0.433 GEES NSS Workshop 2010

18 Predictive model (Forest Tree Analysis) Decision and regression trees use a supervised learning algorithm which must be provided with a training set that contains cases with class labels or values for classification. We used a new variant of regression trees called FTA (software called RandomForests). Robust method with fewer constraints than traditional regression methods, for example allowing different factors to be explored in their influence on overall satisfaction within different subgroups. GEES NSS Workshop 2010

19 Regression Trees (an example) based on Predicts property value

20 Effectiveness of Q1-21 to predict overall satisfaction (Q22) Predicting questionnaire itemInc MSE (%) Q15 - The course is well organised and is running smoothly Q1 - Staff are good at explaining things71.45 Q4 - The course is intellectually stimulating66.71 Q14 - Any changes in the course or teaching have been communicated effectively60.79 Q10 - I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies55.34 Q11 - I have been able to contact staff when I needed to43.40 Q3 - Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching40.08 Q2 - Staff have made the subject interesting38.26 Q12 - Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices35.27 Subject32.35 Q6 - Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair20.10 Q17 - I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to18.73 Q19 - The course has helped me present myself with confidence17.35 Q18 - I have been able to access specialised equipment, facilities or room when I15.41 Q16 - The library resources and services are good enough for my needs15.34 Q20 - My communication skills have improved13.29 Q13 - The timetable works efficiently as far as my activities are concerned13.16 Q7 - Feedback on my work has been prompt10.49 Q9 - Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand6.65 Q5 - The criteria used in marking have been clear in advance6.60 Q21 - As a result of the course, I feel confident in tackling unfamiliar problems3.32 Q8 - I have received detailed comments on my work3.04

21 Predictive model (FTA shown as ranks) Predictor2007 (%) 2008 (%) 2009 (%) Teaching Fairness Feedback Assessment Support Organisation Resources Personal Development GEES NSS Workshop 2010

22 1.Q15 The course is well organised and is running smoothly. 2.Q4 The course is intellectually stimulating. 3.Q1 Staff are good at explaining things. 4.Q14. Any changes to the course or teaching have been communicated effectively. 5.Q10 I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies. Top five predictors (best first) GEES NSS Workshop 2010

23 Q22 under-performers Actual Predicted Residual SE1 SE2 SE3 Subjects

24 Q22 as expected from Q1-Q21

25 Q22 over-performers

26 University Groupings

27 GroupnMech Eng Com Sci Allied Med Elec Eng BiolM&SEGSHum Geog ChemAll Million Alliance None Russell All n = Mean overall Q22 for university groups

28 Conclusions Subject differences (e.g. mathematical content) Institutional differences False assumptions (e.g. enhancing feedback directly enhances Q22) Institutional effects Satisfaction is a complex measure related to L&T practices Teaching and Organisation prominent GEES NSS Workshop 2010

29 Ramsden quotes

30 Quotes from Ramsden (2007) Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2010 … [The NSS] is not a measure of satisfaction so much as a window into how our designs for learning are experienced by students. From these insights we assemble the practical measures we may take to enhance the quality of their experiences.

31 Quotes from Ramsden (2007) Higher Education Academy Annual Conference it is not simple to know what to do. Current experiences, unlike satisfaction, are a mixture of previous experiences and the environment as it is now so sometimes we will need to adjust expectations or consider altering previous experiences in order to improve quality.

32 Quotes from Ramsden (2007) Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2010 I cannot agree with the idea, for example, that because students are slightly less positive about feedback on assessed work in the NSS than about the quality of teaching we should rush to bully academics into providing more feedback more quickly.

33 Quotes from Ramsden (2007) Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2010 From this it also follows that students do not have a right to be satisfied. They are themselves part of the experience Students decide their own destinies and we can only add or subtract value at the margins.


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