Tag Archives: self-efficacy

Remembering the student in student satisfaction (2014)

Bowles L&T conf Remembering the student in student satisfaction share version David Bowles

Two studies were conducted in order to investigate the factors that drive overall course satisfaction scores on the National Student Survey (NSS) in D&S. The first involved the analysis of NSS scores from the 2012 survey across departments in D&S. The second study was larger in scale and scope, being designed to capture what course aspects, psychological factors, and academic strengths related to overall course satisfaction in current students. The first study indicated that of the items captured on the NSS, those that related to teaching excellence and to personal development were the greatest predictors of overall satisfaction. Quite some way behind these two factors came organisation, academic support and resources, in that order. Study two extended study one by matching individuals’ satisfaction scores to person variables such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, basic psychological needs, self-reported study skills and entry points. Participants were 250 level 5 students across D&S departments. All variables except entry points correlated with overall satisfaction, but regression analyses showed that all variance was accounted for by levels of felt competence. Both studies highlight the importance of teaching quality and students’ personal development to the overall satisfaction students report as experiencing on their SHU courses. The implications are that resources aimed at improving student satisfaction should be put towards enabling academic staff to excel as inspirational tutors, tutors who facilitate the development of competence and confidence in the personal journey of SHU students.

289 – Course ethos: it’s not the students who are strange – Neil Challis, Michael Robinson

If you talk to some lecturers, you will find no shortage of opinion about the shortcomings of our students.  They are ill-prepared for the university curriculum; don’t turn up to class; aren’t interested if it isn’t assessed; lack motivation; don’t love the subject; don’t know what they should; are only interested in how to pass the exam; lack basic skills; can’t write properly… Teaching in a university would be great, if it weren’t for the students.

Our own experiences are atypical. Contrast the caricature presented above with an equally broad-brush picture of a lecturer: we love our subject; are good at it; are motivated and hard-working; are interested in a deeper understanding; could cope with exam stress; and we’ve spent our adult lives surrounded by similar colleagues.

Drawing on work from the More Maths Grads project, which examined four diverse departments ranging from 30 to 350 students per cohort, we compare what students and staff say about their aspirations and consider how this impacts the students’ enjoyment and confidence in their subject. Whilst we found evidence of special effort being made to overcome the perceived student shortcomings, we nevertheless detect some frustration at these. If we become frustrated, is it us or them that have the problem? Is it reasonable of us to expect our students to share our outlook?

We suggest that our perceptions can lead to messages – explicit or implied – to students about their abilities can easily damage their confidence and well-being.

In particular we discuss ways to generate a more positive attitude so that more of our students might report, as one did:

“The … tutors treat the students as equals, I have never been talked down to …  I feel that the tutors and students work as a team aiming for one goal and that is the students understanding and enjoyment of the subject.”

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