You Shape UCL


PTES 2017 results: 80% student satisfaction rates recorded

14 November 2017

More than 4,900 students took part in the 2017 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES), meaning UCL finished on a response rate of 36%, up from 31% in 2016.

PTES 2017 results: 80% student satisfaction rates recorded

The results indicate that overall satisfaction remains unchanged, with 80% of postgraduate taught students happy with their experience at UCL. Students were particularly positive about the teaching at UCL, with 90% agreeing that ‘Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching’ and 87% agreeing ‘Staff are good at explaining things’. 

There are very high satisfaction levels for some departments with 100% overall satisfaction for the Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and high scores for UCL Medical School (98%), the Institute of Global Health (97%) and the Institute of Archaeology (96%).

Feedback and assessment which was the biggest area of concern last year, and in particular the question ‘Feedback on my work has been prompt’, saw an increase from 58% to 61%.

Your top 3 scoring questions

1. Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching: 90% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

2. Staff are good at explaining things: 87% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

3. I am encouraged to ask questions or make contributions in taught sessions: 86% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

Your bottom 3 scoring questions

1. Feedback on my work has been prompt: 61% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

2. I am encouraged to be involved in decisions about how my course is run: 61% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

3. There is sufficient contact time between staff and students to support effective learning: 64% of postgraduate taught students agreed.

Initiatives for improvement

This academic year will see a number of initiatives rolled out to improve the postgraduate taught student experience including:

  • Funding approval for the creation of a central Academic Communication Support Centre for students, which will mean a significant increase in UCL’s provision for academic writing and communication support. The centre should be operational from the start of the  next academic session, and its activities will scale up over the next 3 years.
  • The Office of the Vice-Provost will be working with departments later on this year through the Assessment Review to review assessment patterns on postgraduate taught programmes and look at targeted improvements,
  • More support is being given to students who need it as well as easier access to psychological services. In particular, there is improved access to immediate support through increased daily drop-in sessions with mental health, disability and wellbeing advisers. There is also improved communication about the psychological support services available, through updated web pages, videos and the ‘Here to Support You’ guide to UCL Student Support and Wellbeing.
  • Students will continue to work as consultants with postgraduate departments to improve assessment and feedback processes via the UCL ChangeMakers scheme

Professor Anthony Smith, who as UCL’s Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs) oversees the student experience, said, "UCL is a predominantly postgraduate institution and it is vital we understand more about the postgraduate taught students’ needs and expectations and what this means for how we deliver education. 

"It’s great to see some departments have such high satisfaction scores in the PTES but now we need to work together to ensure we are delivering this level of experience across all departments. As a result of our review of postgraduate taught education we’ve started to develop a number of recommendations and will be seeking input from students later this year." 

Departments respond to the results of the Postgraduate Taught Survey by producing an action plan as part of the Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) process.

For more information about the PTES 2017 survey and to view your department's headline results visit the You Shape UCL website.

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