Benchmarking the student experience across Singapore

Posted by Guy Perring

We have been working in the Singapore private sector for the last 6 years providing benchmarking of the student experience using the Student Barometer. This has contributed towards enhancing quality and providing key benchmarking data which institutions have used for their external audits from CPE as well as contributing to EduTrust status.

For all of us, the last 18 months have been some of the most challenging of our professional and personal lives. We maintained at Tribal i-graduate that it was vital that institutions continued to listen to students to ensure they were still meeting their needs.

The Best PEIs run the Student Barometer
Across the last 18 months some of the leading institutions in the Singapore private sector have run the Student Barometer to capture that student voice. This includes SIM Global, JCU Singapore, Curtin Singapore and PSB Academy which, to many, are regarded as the top private institutions.

In running the Student Barometer they have been able to look at all aspects of the student experience including the learning, living, arrival and support services. The survey also now includes questions relating to the institutional response to COVID-19, as well as the shift to online learning.

Singaporean institutions perform well globally
Singapore institutions have performed very well during this time and our global data set allows us to give some clear comparisons. Looking at the top line data we can see that Singaporean institutions outstrip their global comparators in all the key areas. The percentage figures represent those students who were either very satisfied or satisfied. As can be seen overall satisfaction is in line with the global benchmark – however in overall learning and living the scores are extremely impressive with over 4% differences from the global benchmark. This is a significant variance, and one that can make all the difference when it comes to students’ likelihood to recommend their institution to others.   

Overall satisfaction 86.30% 84.80% +1.50%
Learning overall 86.43 82.00% +4.43%
Living overall 89.25% 85.00% +4.25%
Support overall 87.83% 84.70% +3.13%


And these are just the headlines. Participating institutions receive detailed feedback and the underlying series of indices covering all aspects of the student experience. So, for learning they receive evaluative data from questions relating assessment, feedback, relevance of curricula, quality of teaching, course organisation etc. For living the survey provides insight on accommodation, catering, transport links, overall costs, safety etc


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Kudos to all staff for their response
In giving presentations to Singaporean institutions this year on their individual results, I’ve been very impressed with their response to the crisis - not only in terms of the percentage data, but also how individual student comments reveal a sector that should be very proud of its staff and their response to the shift to online. Almost uniformly students highlighted the individual attention they received, the time staff were willing to devote outside normal office hours and the concerns staff had for student wellbeing.

Clearly Singapore has benefitted from clarity in their approach from the government which had fairly clear instructions to all educational institutions, whereas other countries’ messaging was unclear and institutional autonomy has led to a variety of responses. 

Let’s get back to campus
The other clear message coming from both international students and local students is that they really want to get back to their campuses. Life at a Singaporean institution is more than just completing the curricula, but is about building a set of contacts for the future, making international friends and participating in social/sporting events. So, as we all get back to campus let’s keep listening to our students and ensuring we give them the best experience.

PLEASE NOTE: The upcoming wave for the Student Barometer is due to launch in November. To enhance the student experience at your institution and receive benchmarked data for your external audits, contact Guy Perring to see how you can still participate alongside other Singaporean institutions.

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