The purpose of this paper is to outline four separate studies undertaken in two Australian universities between 2003 and 2012 on employer feedback on the quality of university graduates. Higher education has expanded significantly in the past decade. The expansion has been in student enrolments with a focus on increasing the participation of disadvantaged students; the emergence of new kinds of providers other than universities; new modes of education delivery; and the internationalisation of higher education. The diversity of higher education institutions and quality issues require the assessment of graduate quality based on feedback from employers. The lack of such assessment on graduate quality based on employer voice risks the production of graduates with focus on success (quantity) rather than excellence (quality). It also disconnects the engagement between higher education institutions and employers to assess trends and changes in various industries and professions that require employer input in course development and renewal to meet the changing needs of the industries.
A quantitative method using online survey to gather feedback from employers of university graduates was used. The survey tool has been previously used in other studies.
A decade of study using quantitative and qualitative methods with different employers in two different geographic locations clearly shows that employer views on the quality of university graduates in a range of capabilities have remained consistent. The study also outlines the challenges in gathering feedback from employers and how data are used in curriculum reviews and enhancements.
The study has a number of limitations, including gathering up-to-date employer data, and engagement of employers in the survey.
Practical implications could include the use of survey data in new course developments, review of courses and further enhancement to ensure course relevance.
This is the first longitudinal study undertaken using the same survey instrument in two universities. The study engaged 485 employers.
Shah, M., Grebennikov, L. and Nair, C. (2015), "A decade of study on employer feedback on the quality of university graduates", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 262-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-04-2014-0018Download as .RIS
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