UK student engagement

Insights from the latest UK Engagement Survey 2016 highlight how students are getting the most of their university experiences.

The Student engagement and skills development survey is run by the Higher Education Academy.

Over 23,000 undergraduates responded to a questionnaire that covered seven broad engagement sections.  Students at 29 institutions participated

The survey set out to measure student engagement across seven broad categories.  The headline results show the highest levels of engagement are focused on individual learning (numbers 1-4 in the rankings below) but learning and interacting with peers and staff have a much lower level of engagement (ranged 5-7). 

  1. Course challenge
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Reflecting and connecting
  4. Research and inquiry
  5. Learning with others
  6. Student staff partnerships
  7. Interacting with staff

Only a fifth of students for example have discussed their career plans with staff and fewer than 40% of them have worked in partnership with staff.

The lower scores achieved in areas of interaction, whether with staff or peers, represents evidence of missed opportunities for students to develop their wider skills and employability.

Interesting findings

  • On average, STEM subjects engage the least
  • Education students have high engagement measures.  As do students of history, philosophy and law
  • Students at institutions created post-1992 are more engaged than those at older institutions
  • Respondents were asked rate how their learning experiences were helping them develop a range of hard and soft skills – they scored their ability to learn independently, academic thinking and writing and collaboration highly
  • The development of career skills is an area for improvement
  • The findings show how participation in volunteering, sports or other societies feeds into the development of skills

The full report can be downloaded here.