July 2013

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What is the purpose of the satisfaction survey of graduates in Catalonia?

Dolors Baena Tostado and Jordi Casanova Maturana - Agency for Policy and Quality, University of Barcelona

Within the context of the activities aimed at quality enhancement in the universities and, more particularly, programme monitoring, the compiling of information on students' thoughts and perceptions about their studies just at the point when they are graduating is a key element of great relevance in that it provides their personal point of view regarding their degree programmes as a whole, which is without doubt fundamental for enabling improvements to be made to study programmes.

In this regard, this article reports on one of the projects that, coordinated through AQU Catalunya, is being carried out by Catalan universities, namely, the design of the graduate satisfaction survey, coinciding with the first cohort of graduates from EHEA-compliant Bachelor programmes.

The working group consists of specialists from AQU Catalunya and representatives from the quality units of the various universities involved in designing the survey to gather information for programme monitoring, establish relevant indicators and for these to be uploaded to Winddat for monitoring.

As such, the survey is an instrument agreed at university-system level that will provide analyses that are comparative, systematic and cross-cutting. Designed on the basis of international models, as well as polls and surveys currently used in certain Catalan universities, it was intensely analysed and discussed in three meetings of the working group, which finally agreed on a pilot version that will be applied to the target population later on this year.

The survey is divided into two parts. The first contains a series of questions that serve to identify the students, their profile and different aspects associated with their admission and time spent studying their degree at university. The second part, “Overall assessment of your degree”, contains a total of 24 questions that should provide information on the personal thoughts and perceptions of recent graduates regarding their studies.

The data obtained will provide relevant information for the purposes of quality assurance, although relevant analyses of the validity and reliability of the instrument and the response rate will only be possible once the first findings have come in.

How is it envisaged that the project will be developed and applied in the University of Barcelona (UB)?

Within the UB, it is envisaged that the project will be developed through a series of actions such as coordination with the Academic Office for identification of the reference population; institutional contact with graduates; the setting up a platform for the actual survey and collecting responses; data processing by AQU Catalunya; mining of the data; the drawing up of reports; their use as reference information in the monitoring reports on Bachelor degrees, together with their dissemination within the university community in Catalonia, with special attention being paid to the project population; and, lastly, a review of the entire procedure.

As far as the timetable is concerned, it is anticipated that the survey will be carried out during the second half of November, once the reference population has been identified. In this regard, this date has been set on account of the trade-off been a survey of graduates at the time of completing their studies and the time necessary for all of the information to be included in their academic transcripts (records), given the diversity of incidents that can occur. This slight delay in carrying out the survey means that the time when first contact is made with the graduates will be very important. In connection with this institutional contact, we believe it to be one of the key and more sensitive elements in the project. In the project at hand, there will be three occasions for institutional contact: the first, aimed at the graduate population to congratulate them on graduating and invite them to participate in the consultation; a second, to communicate and activate the survey; and a third and last time to thank them for having participated and give them access to the reports with the findings. The survey itself will be carried out using one of the UB's own data storage applications, which guarantees participant anonymity.

It is anticipated that the survey findings (in the form of a microdata file) will be sent to AQU Catalunya in December for data processing and mining.

One final comment is that, under the collaboration agreement between the Catalan universities and AQU Catalunya, the working group must monitor the project, which includes the drawing up of a report with the findings based on an analysis of the results of the survey, plus proposals for necessary enhancement to be applied in subsequent surveys.


Generalitat de Catalunya

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© 2013 AQU Catalunya - Legal number B-21.910-2008