Summary Higher education institutions (HEIs) and national bodies are increasingly monitoring the satisfaction of their students with their educational experiences. Quantitative satisfaction surveys are often used, where HEI students rate the questionnaire items using Likert scale formats to express their perceived satisfaction. However, the literature shows considerable variations in how satisfaction has been gauged based on students' responses to such questionnaires. It is important to ascertain that methods used to gauge student satisfaction are appropriate. We explored the associations between the method employed in calculating the levels of student satisfaction with their educational experience and the emergent level of satisfaction. We employed data comprising 2650 module satisfaction questionnaires (18 items) from a University in the UK. Five common choices of satisfaction summary measures were tested: three different count summary measures; a sum summary measure; and a ratio summary measure. The 5 measures were correlated, but levels of student satisfaction varied widely according to the summary measure that was used. The behaviour of some satisfaction summary measures suggested that they might lack the ability to discriminate effectively between different levels of student satisfaction. We recommend the use of two summary measures and discuss the implications for research and practice.
- nursing education
- student satisfaction indicators
- evaluation research
- learning and teaching