The 2021 VET Student Experience Survey FAQs

26 May 2021
 

1. What is the VET Student Experience Survey?

The VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) is a new short online survey which asks current students about their training experiences. The new survey complements the National Student Outcomes Survey (SOS), which collects information on training outcomes and satisfaction after students have finished their studies.

The survey will capture information from students, who are currently enrolled in a qualification, about their training experiences so far including training intentions, satisfaction, pre-enrolment and enrolment processes, and motivation.

The VETSES is being developed jointly by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The Social Research Centre will conduct the field work for the survey.

2. What is the purpose of the VET Student Experience Survey?

The VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) is being developed to provide more frequent and more timely data on student experiences and satisfaction, at the RTO level. The information will complement the National Student Outcomes Survey which provides data once a year on student satisfaction and outcomes, in the year after students complete their training.

Results from the VETSES will be available to participating RTOs (where enough students from the provider complete the survey) which can be used to support continuous improvement of training delivery or for other purposes, such as marketing. Participating in the VETSES can contribute to feedback systems that enable providers to understand and continuously improve their performance.

The VETSES is being developed jointly by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). The survey will provide the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) with data about RTOs from the perspective of the students. This data can be used to assist the work of each organisation in supporting the VET sector, including monitoring of the market, and planning for programs and policy.

3. What are the benefits of the VET Student Experience Survey?

There are benefits of this new survey for RTOs, students, regulators and the department.

Benefits for RTOs

The new survey will provide a consistent way for information from students to be collected and provided back to participating RTOs. The administration of the survey will be undertaken by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the Social Research Centre (SRC), with RTOs only having to provide enrolment and contact details for current students.

Each participating RTO will receive a short report summarising their students’ responses, where enough students respond from the provider to ensure reliable information. This information can then be used by the RTO for continuous improvement of training delivery or for other purposes, such as marketing.

Participating in the VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) can contribute to feedback systems that enable providers to understand and continuously improve their performance.

Benefits for students

Students will have the opportunity to provide feedback about their training in a short survey. This can be used by RTOs to improve the services provided to students.

Benefits for the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE)

The survey will provide both ASQA and DESE more timely and frequent data about RTOs from the perspective of students. This data can be used to assist the work of each organisation in supporting the VET sector, including monitoring of the market, and planning for programs and policy.

4. When is the VET Student Experience Survey being conducted?

The VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) is designed to be administered in waves throughout the year. This enables results to be reported back quickly, and for the survey to cover more RTOs than a large-scale survey at a single point in time.

A small Pilot was undertaken in late 2020. The first wave of the VETSES will commence from early April 2021, with selected RTOs being contacted.

The first wave will invite around 550 RTOs to participate, with over 25,000 students from participating RTOs being invited to complete the survey.

Students will be contacted to complete the survey from mid-May.

Timing for the second wave of the survey is yet to be determined but is expected to commence from around July or August 2021.

Dates for Wave 1 of the VETSES:

  • Late March 2021 - Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will provide broad information about the survey to all RTOs under its remit.
  • Early April 2021 - RTOs selected for the first wave of the survey will be invited to participate in the survey by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research and provided with detailed information to enable their participation.
  • April 2021 - The Social Research Centre (SRC) will follow up the selected RTOs with instructions for supplying student data to a secure portal by the 7 May.
  • From mid-May to end of June 2021 - Selected students will be contacted by email and telephone to participate in the VET Student Experience Survey.

5. Who participates in the survey?

A sample of RTOs who are regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will be selected from across the country to participate in each wave of the survey. About 550 providers will be selected in each wave.

The focus of the survey, for the first few waves, is on students at the medium to large RTOs (with about 50 to 2000 students) as its RTOs of this size where the National Student Outcomes Survey provides only limited information at the RTO level.

It is expected that over half of the ASQA regulated RTOs would be selected in the survey over the course of a year, with most being included within the first two years of the survey being operational.

6. How will the survey be conducted?

For each wave of the survey, selected RTOs will be asked to provide enrolment and contact details of their current students to the survey provider, the Social Research Centre (SRC). A sample of students will then be contacted by the SRC to complete the survey.

The survey is conducted primarily online, and selected students will be emailed a link to the survey, with some follow up telephone interviews also conducted by  SRC. The SRC is the same fieldwork contractor that conducts the National Student Outcomes Survey on behalf of NCVER and DESE.

The results from the students from each RTO will be weighted so that they are representative of that RTO.

Summary results for each participating RTO, when there are enough students completing the survey for that RTO to ensure reliable data, will be available to the RTO.

Data from the survey will be provided to the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

7. What do RTOs need to do?

We will be asking selected RTOs to supply qualification enrolment and student contact details to be able to contact current students for the VET Student Experience Survey. This information needs to be up-to-date so we can select a sample of students currently studying.

Detailed instructions for what information to provide for each current student will be provided by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the Social Research Centre (SRC). This information requested will need to be provided to SRC via a secure portal to help facilitate the survey.

8. How are RTOs selected?

RTOs who have students who are currently enrolled in a Certificate 1 or higher in 2021 have a chance of selection in the survey. RTOs are selected based on a combination of random sampling and priority selection. Some selection of RTOs is based on areas of interest identified by ASQA, such as offering high-demand programs.

9. How are students selected?

Students who are currently enrolled in a VET qualification at a selected RTO are randomly selected to participate in the survey. In some instances, all students currently enrolled in a selected RTO will be invited to participate to enable enough survey responses to produce reliable results for that RTO.

The sample selected will aim to ensure coverage across a range of courses and student demographics for the survey.

10. Does my RTO have to provide student information?

Participation in the VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) is voluntary but is strongly encouraged.

RTOs will receive summary data to enable them to gain insights into their students’ experiences from being part of the survey, which can be used to support continuous improvement of training delivery or for other purposes such as marketing.

We would appreciate it if you could help make the survey a success by providing the enrolment information and contact details of your current students when contacted by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) and the Social Research Centre (SRC), and to also encourage your students to participate in the survey.

If your RTO does not wish to participate in the survey, it would be helpful if you could provide your reasons for non-participation when contacted.

11. Why can’t you use student information I have previously provided to NCVER, e.g. AVETMISS data?

The VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES) is a survey of students who are currently undertaking training, so we need details of current students.

The data that RTOs provide for statistical reporting, either to their state training authority or to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), only covers students who undertook training for the reporting period, e.g. the previous year or quarter, and will not include students who started their training after that period. Recently commenced students are a focus of the survey.

For these reasons, we are unable to use information previously provided by RTOs and State Training Authorities or to NCVER through the National VET Provider Collection, and so are requesting this information on current students directly from RTOs.

12. How will student privacy be ensured?

Student contact details will be maintained by the Social Research Centre (SRC) for the purposes of conducting the survey. For privacy reasons, this data will not be provided to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) or any other party and will be destroyed after the conduct of the survey as per Australian Privacy Principles. All survey work undertaken by the SRC will be conducted in accordance with ISO 20252 quality standards, the Research Society code of ethics, and the Market and Social Research Privacy Principles.

Information will be included in the communications to students when contacted for the survey on how their privacy will be maintained, with further details available on the 2021 VET Student Experience Survey Privacy collection notice page.

13. I’m a student – will my RTO know what I have said about them?

No, your RTO will not know what you have said about them.

The data from the survey provided to the RTO will be summarised across all students at the RTO who completed the survey. Your individual responses to questions, including text answers for ‘other, please specify’ will not be provided to the RTO.

A de-identified (no names, addresses nor student identifiers) student level data file, with all survey responses, will be provided to both the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and to the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE).

14. What will my RTO receive after the survey?

Each participating RTO will receive a short report summarising their students’ responses, where enough students respond from the provider to ensure reliable information. This information can then be used by the RTO for continuous improvement of training delivery or for other purposes, such as marketing.

15. Will the results from students at my RTO’s be made public?

No, the RTO level summary data will not be published at this stage.

If things change and we do consider a need to publish the data at the RTO level, then you will be informed prior to the conduct of the wave of the survey.

16. What type of questions does the survey cover?

There are two questionnaires used in the VET Student Experience Survey (VETSES), one for recently commenced students and one for those who have been in the course longer.

Each questionnaire takes about five minutes to complete.

Topics include:

  • Reasons for training
  • Pre-enrolment and enrolment experiences
  • Training intentions
  • Who is paying for the training
  • Processes to access a Unique Student Identifier
  • Satisfaction with a range of factors related to the training, including facilities, learning resources, location, instruction and assessment, support services and overall satisfaction.

17. How were the survey questions chosen?

The survey questions were developed through consultation between the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). They are similar to questions used in the National VET Student Outcomes Survey and the Learner Survey.

18. More information

For any further information on this project, please contact VETStudentExperienceSurvey@ncver.edu.au.

19. What incentives are there for students to participate?

Over the survey fieldwork period, there will be 4 weekly prize draws to win a share of $1,000, with a total prize pool valued at $4,000. The earlier students complete their survey, the more chances they will have to win. For full prize draw details, please see www.ncver.edu.au/VETStudentExperienceSurvey/prizedraw.