Student engagement and surveys in UK higher education

Buckley, Alex (2016) Student engagement and surveys in UK higher education. In: Annual Academic Symposium 2016, 2016-04-28, University of Aberdeen.

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Student engagement is a slippery concept. Internationally there is wide disagreement about how it should be understood, and in the UK there is added complexity. Historically, student engagement in the UK has been taken to refer to students’ roles in decision-making (e.g. through student representation systems and participation in university governance). However, there is also growing interest in students’ engagement with their own learning, which is closer to how engagement is understood elsewhere in the world. This growing interest is most clearly seen in the development of the UK Engagement Survey (UKES), which is the UK adaptation of an instrument widely used across the globe. UKES was first introduced in 2013 and is being used by 31 institutions in 2016, including the University of Aberdeen. In this talk I will explore the complexity and confusion around student engagement, and locate the development of UKES in that context. I will discuss the relationship between UKES and the National Student Survey, and explore the prospect of using measures of student engagement as indicators of teaching quality, for example in the Teaching Excellence Framework.