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Studiebarometeret 2014: What explains students’ overall satisfaction?

A review of the main findings of the 2014 Norwegian national student survey.


In general, Norwegian students are very satisfied with their study program. Their overall satisfaction score is 4.1 on a scale from 1 to 5. In total, 76 percent of the students are either satisfied or very satisfied with their study program in general. We find some, but no large differences in the overall satisfaction score between different groups of students. Multilevel regression analysis reveals that men are more satisfied than women; bachelor students are more satisfied than master students; and part- time students are more satisfied than full time students. There are no differences in satisfaction between students from new universities, compared to students from specialized universities or university colleges. However, students from new universities are less satisfied than students from traditional universities. In addition, institution size has a negative impact on student satisfaction. The larger the institution, the less satisfied students are with the overall quality of their study programme.

In the national student survey, we ask students to assess the quality of several aspects we believe is important for the overall quality of the study programs. We examine students’ satisfaction on single items in eight different indexes: 1) teaching and counselling, 2) learning environment, 3) influence and participation, 4) academic stimulation and coherence, 5) working life relevance, 6) student assessment, 7) students’ learning goals and 8) vocational practice training. We are interested in knowing which of these different quality aspects are most influential on the students’ overall satisfaction; in other words, what determines their overall satisfaction?

Of the different quality indexes, students are most satisfied with the (supposed) working life relevance of their study programme; 88 percent of the students are satisfied with the working life relevance of their program. Another 82 percent are satisfied with the academic stimulation and coherence of their program. Our multilevel regression models show that academic stimulation and coherence is the most influential factor for students’ overall satisfaction. If students are one point (on a scale from 1 to 5) more satisfied with the academic coherence and stimulation of their program, their overall satisfaction increases with 10 percent. The second most influential factor on student overall satisfaction is satisfaction with teaching and counselling: one point higher score on satisfaction with teaching and counselling increases the overall satisfaction with 6 percent. When we examine single questions rather than indexes, we see that the degree to which programs and teachers stimulate students academically are the two most important factors influencing students’ overall satisfaction with 7 and 3 percent, respectively. Students are least satisfied with the feedback and individual counselling they receive in their study programs. These two single items have surprisingly no influence on students’ overall satisfaction score.

Next to some already mentioned individual background variables, student motivation also influence students’ overall satisfaction. One point higher on the motivation scale of 1 to 5, increases students’ overall satisfaction with 2.7 percent, when we control for the other indexes.

Time spent on studying has a very small negative effect on the overall satisfaction of students. When we control for students’ motivation and the other indexes, we see that a one-hour increase in the time spent on studying per week (especially self-study) decreases students’ overall satisfaction with 0.1 percent.

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Forfatter(e): Marie-Louise Damen
Stephan Hamberg
Dato: 07.09.2015
Rapportnr: 6–2015