Student Learning Is A Core Objective Within Institutional And System Level Governance

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In recent decades, the quality of teaching and learning in higher education has been under close scrutiny from governments and consumers alike due to the increasing accountability of the public sector (Byrne & Flood, 2003; Stensaker, 2007). Student learning is a core goal of universities, whose governance processes must place considerable emphasis on monitoring student learning performance. Therefore, the quality of student learning must be a core objective within institutional and system-level governance arrangements (Jones, 2013). To ensure that higher education institutions demonstrate excellence in teaching and learning, an increasing number of surveys focusing on students’ perceptions of teaching quality and learning experiences have been administered in countries such as China, the US, the UK and Australia (Coates, 2010; Kuh, 2009; Richardson, Slater, & Wilson, 2007; Shi et al., 2014). For example, the Graduate Careers Council of Australia has run an annual survey of graduates’ course experiences and destinations since 1993. Based on the instrument used by the Australian annual survey, i.e., the Course Experience Questionnaire, the UK developed a similar instrument and has administered it as part of the annual National Student Survey since 2005. However, as Coates (2005) pointed out, these quality assurance mechanisms place too much emphasis on information related to institutions and teaching, and not enough on what students are actually doing in universities. It is important to factor information about student engagement into determinations of the quality of university education. In the US, the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research annually administers the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) (Kuh, ... ... middle of paper ... ...omprises private, psychological and unobservable factors, and the latter comprises publicly observable behaviour (Reeve, 2012). Martin (2012a) argued that although ideas may differ as to which factors are deemed motivation factors as opposed to engagement factors, there appears to be broad agreement that motivation is a basis for subsequent engagement. For this reason, Martin (2007) suggested using the Motivation and Engagement Wheel as an integrative and parsimonious approach to conceptualising student engagement. The wheel aims to bridge the gap between diverse theoretical perspectives about motivation and engagement, such as expectancy-value, attribution and goal orientation theory. It also provides practitioners (e.g., educators, counsellors and psychologists) with a parsimonious framework that they can apply to their practice and clearly communicate to students.

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