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Student Expectations and Perceptions of Higher Education

King’s College London & Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Student Expectations and Perceptions of Higher Education. 2013. Pages: 82.

What do students actually want? It would do no harm to higher education institutions if they paid more attention to their students’ expectations, needs and perception. The study commissioned by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and implemented by King’s College London precisely examined this – the issue of students’ expectations and perceptions of the quality of their learning experience and the academic standards of their chosen programmes of study. Methodologically based on individual interviews, focus groups and concept maps, the study identifies eight major themes with regard to student perceptions of quality and standards. The findings as such are not completely surprising, but they do help to draw a more coherent picture of what students want. Having a strong ‘value-for-money’ approach, students expect

  • a high quality and value of their degree and study programme;
  • a suitable learning environment;
  • good prospects of employability in line with professional advice and guidance;
  • a clear on-going and open process for evaluation and feedback;
  • a passionate, knowledgeable and supportive teaching staff;
  • flexibility but a clear set of rules maintained;
  • the sense of belonging to a community; and
  • support for their transition into higher education.

In addition, the study includes recommendations for higher education institutions on how students’ expectations can be better met. Basically, the study suggests that the best way of closing the gap between expectations and reality is more transparency and information on the funding mechanism of universities, employability and internships, and other issues. Moreover, universities could provide better support for skills development, staff development and training, and coordination of student services and extra-curricular activities.

For more information on students’ expectations and perceptions and how to successfully deal with them click here