Past Event details

Webinar: Student Experience and Satisfaction

Friday, 24 January 2020

 This Webinar is part of Share your Research: A programme of Online Webinars. This series is intended to facilitate the sharing of cutting edge and innovative research, globally. These webinars enable lively debate and constructive feedback from interested peers. These sessions are open and free for all to attend.


Chair: Samuel Dent, Nottingham Trent University 


1.       Predictors of student satisfaction in Higher Education; A multilevel analysis, Alison Ritchie, University of Central Lancashire

The current study investigated predictors of student satisfaction in UK Higher Education (HE). The research aimed to identify key factors at the individual and institutional level which significantly predict student satisfaction.

The satisfaction of students, it is widely argued, is of critical importance for institutions both strategically and economically (Santini, Ladeira, Sampaio, & Costa, 2017). Institutions focus on student satisfaction expecting to see increased retention rates and academic achievement, as well as to receive good public rankings and reputation in order to recruit the best quality students (Letcher & Neves, 2010). In a climate of increasing competition, recruiting and retaining the highest quality students is thought to be more important than ever, and increased student satisfaction critical to the financial stability of HEIs (Trowler, 2010). 

The existing literature tends to focus on factors at one level and at a single institution or course (Bell & Brooks, 2016), limiting the generalisability of results. Therefore, the current study utilised data from the Student Academic Experience Survey (SAES), which encompasses multiple institutions, courses and potential predictors of satisfaction. Hierarchical Linear Modelling (HLM) was used to analyse individual and institutional factors simultaneously, whilst reducing the likelihood of a type I error. The results revealed that factors at the individual level were the greatest predictors of student satisfaction and that the strongest predictor was a students’ life satisfaction rating.

It was concluded that student satisfaction is a multidimensional phenomenon which can primarily be predicted by factors at the individual level. It is recommended that institutions recognise the importance of, and invest in, student wellbeing, as well as student’s academic needs and the physical aspects of the institution.   


2.       A Participatory Study into the Student Experience of First Year Under-Represented Students in a UK University, Dr Stéphane Farenga, University of Hertfordshire

My doctoral research explored the experience of socioeconomically under-represented undergraduate students at Southeastern (a post-1992 university in southeast England) as they transitioned into higher education (HE). The research addressed inequalities in outcomes and experience for under-represented students, which has been reported across the sector (HEFCE, 2015; Christie et al., 2016; McCaig and Stevenson, 2016; HEPI, 2017; OfS, 2018; Read et al., 2018; Vigurs et al., 2018). This research addressed these inequalities by filling a knowledge gap concerning early university experience and offering practice-based recommendations to facilitate student-staff partnerships, which will result in activity that better supports under-represented students’ success.

A ‘Participatory Pedagogy’ approach (Burke, 2012) and artful inquiry methodology (Vaughan, 2005; Davis, 2008), supported by collage making (Butler-Kisber and Poldma, 2010), provided a co-participatory platform to explore transitional experience and share powerful testimonies. Participants’ experiences were analysed in relation to Bourdieusian notions (Webb et al., 2017), a capability approach (Walker, 2008) and transitional models (Gale and Parker, 2014, which encouraged a more nuanced understanding of their experience. 

Findings revealed participants endured difficult transitional experiences during their first term, mainly due to mismatches in expectations. Although their experience improved as they formed friendship and support groups, this period highlighted a form of institutional misrecognition of their habitus, based on their initial conception of HE, and reinforced the deficit-model approach that is prevalent in institutional practices across the sector. A capability approach analysis of findings explained how students’ choice, aspiration and agency in accessing and performing in HE can be reclaimed away from deficit-model discourses and instead positioned around what under-represented students value, such as financial independence and personal development. Ultimately, forming co-participatory partnerships with under-represented students should be prioritised to develop meaningful practices that support individualised transitions, while ensuring students feel valued and retain ownership of their own HE experience.


Network: Newer Researchers
Date(s): Friday, 24 January 2020
Times: 13:00 - 14:00
Location: Online event, link will be provided
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Event Files
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A participatory study into the student experience
Dr Stephane Farenga, University of Hertfordshire
Student Satisfaction in UK Higher Education: A Multilevel Analysis.
Alison Ritchie – University of Central Lancashire
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