The study comprises a two-year longitudinal survey in which students from eleven research-intensive universities completed an online tool that included a wide range of measurement instruments. Respondents were drawn from four broad disciplinary areas, including Business (and Business studies), Chemistry, English, and Medicine (and related postgraduate courses).
Many higher education KPIs are mandatory, such as those required for federal student aid programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard provides an overview of the most commonly used metrics. Enrollment data is one of the most common KPIs and monitoring this data can help determine how well a college or university is doing. For example, a declining English department can monitor its enrollment year-over-year data to determine whether courses should be eliminated or merged into other sections.
Other measures of student performance include average graduation rates and retention rates. Degree completion is essential to reap the full benefits of undergraduate study. Graduate schools and employers seek graduates with a degree. Other outcome measures include social mobility, graduate debt, and graduation rate performance. And there is no lack of indicators to assess the quality of higher education courses. Further research is needed to identify the confounding factors and to understand the potential background effects on student performance.
Regardless of their views on specific standards, HEIs should strive to find the most relevant metrics that measure the quality of their programs. In this study, three stakeholder groups were surveyed, including students, staff, and employers. Results are consistent with previous studies. The study also found that students placed the greatest importance on standards related to teaching quality. In addition, employers also value standards related to community involvement and research skills, as well as research skills.
Effective learning outcomes are not directly traceable to subject specific learning outcomes but do reflect student attitudes towards learning. They are often not measured by grades and may be affected by social desirability bias. While there are some useful measures of student engagement, they are unreliable and have a weak association with learning gains. Learning outcomes are not always easy to measure, but they can be useful indicators. However, if used as the sole measure, student engagement may be the most important metric.
These studies also emphasize the differences between face-to-face and online teaching. Although online teaching and learning differ in terms of quality, the study’s findings point to the need for new, effective service quality measures. While many studies have revealed the differences between face-to-face and online courses, there are few common metrics. This is why the study’s authors recommend new models measure the quality of higher education courses. There is much more work to be done, and it may help measure the effectiveness of online and traditional methods.
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