Despite the strong criticisms, mass student surveys play an important role in the quality assurance process of national higher education systems. While some national higher education systems have a long history of using student surveys to inform teaching and course quality improvement (e.g. the UK, Australia), in Italy, where the quality assurance system has been put in place at both state and institutional levels, a national student survey has never been implemented. As a consequence, higher education institutions have used, and still use, only student evaluations of teaching. If, on the one hand, these local surveys tend to overlap with the rationale and structure of a national survey, on the other hand, they prevent universities from comparing quality indicators. Given the strong drive to use student surveys as a quality assurance mechanism, the present article reports a study aimed to design and probe a new questionnaire to be used at the national level. A total of 572 final year students enrolled in a public university participated in the study. Data were examined using a principal component analysis. Study results could set the groundwork for a critical debate on changes and improvements in the quality assurance process.
Serafina Manuela Pastore
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