Student Surveys

Natspec sends out a student survey to member colleges, to get the views of students about life at college. The survey is sent out in word format so that colleges can adapt it to suit their students. The results are collated and colleges can use them for comparisons across the sector, and to seek to make improvements

The results

You can see a table showing all the results (combined into a 3 point scale) and how they compare with last year here:

Some of the main results show that –

93% of students enjoy being at college
94% get the support they need from staff
95% felt they were learning to be more independent
92% thought what they learnt at college would help the in the future

How to do it

Colleges were given guidance about the survey, which included:

  • The survey questions can be presented as a hard copy, with symbols, signed, read out, or on computer, and done over a timescale that is best for students.
  • There are two options for responses:
    • A 5 point scale – always, most of the time, some of the time, never (responses supported by appropriate signs or symbols as required).
    • A 3 point scale – yes, no, not sure (responses supported by appropriate signs or symbols).
  • Students can complete the survey with the level and type of support they would normally receive – signs, symbols, photos, examples etc. They can work 1-1 or in a group size that suits their needs.
  • The only restriction is that supporting staff must not use value laden words in clarifying the questions. So for example, staff can show a photo or sign for technology, but must not describe it as good or bad.

Making it accessible

Wherever possible the surveys were completed independently by students, but staff adapted the survey in a number of ways to make it more accessible

  • We made the survey accessible using pictorial symbols and altering words to suit learners’ levels of understanding. Keyworkers built the survey into tutorial meetings with learners
  • Most of our students can read. One student pointed out the column he wanted the answers to go into. One student decided on a scale of 1-5 on her fingers.
  • The survey was administered electronically as part of our annual learner survey. The survey was in various formats to promote independence and aid understanding, such as total communication symbols and audio options.
  • A symbol version was used during a ‘learner survey day’, which also surveyed students’ views on other issues such as food, rooms and choosing sessions
  • The survey was made available as a hard copy and on-line, with text-to-speech as an option.
  • Pictorial or Widget versions were made for students with communication difficulties and the questions explained to them.
  • Students completed the survey with support from their student journey manager.
  • Some learners had a reader or scribe, some had prompting and use of makaton to allow them to participate.
  • Staff read out the questions and noted responses – yes/no verbally or through adapted resources- given by learners.
  • The survey was adapted into 3 different formats – Talking Mats, a visual survey using Widgit Rebus and a written survey with slightly adapted questions.
  • A range of modifications for blind or severely visually impaired learners included an enlarged version, an electronic version to be enlarged on screen or read by screen-reading technology, and some scripts read to students and their responses recorded by support staff