Students want exams to continue online amid Coronavirus pandemic | YouthSight x HEPI

HE Thinking | 16 Apr 2020

The latest poll commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that the majority of students are satisfied with the communication they've had from their university during the Covid-19 outbreak and more students want assessments to continue online than those that would like them cancelled altogether.

The poll of over 1,000 undergraduate students and 500 applicants was conducted on behalf of HEPI, to gain insight into how the current pandemic is affecting those in (or planning on entering) higher education. 

Results of the survey showed us that around half of students are happy with the online teaching that they're currently receiving and around half of applicants feel that the information they are receiving on the crisis from their chosen university is good, and they do not expect to change their first-choice institution. 

Rachel Hewitt, Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: "These results show universities are supporting students and applicants well through these challenging times. Despite having to scale up online provision very quickly, few students are dissatisfied with the offering from their institution. Both applicants and students feel they have had clear information around the pandemic.

"On admissions, it is clear applicants need greater certainty about what will happen to their university places. It is essential this group, who have already lost out on the end of their school experience, are not disadvantaged from getting into the university of their choice. The data shows this is a concern for a significant minority of applicants. Despite all the uncertainty, much remains the same. Two-thirds of students still want the opportunity to complete their assessments from afar. The majority of applicants still intend to go to the same university as before the crisis. What’s more, many students are still living in their term-time residence, meaning they may be reliant on the support of their university and accommodation providers."

Highlights of the survey:

  • 36% of students believed that their assessments for the rest of the year should be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, 42% expect universities to continue assessments online and 17% would prefer the assessments to be postponed until after the crisis
  • 70% feel the messaging from their higher education institution on Coronavirus has been good (either 'clear' or 'very clear'), 18% feel it hasn't been adequate
  • A greater proportion of first year students (44%) thought assessments should be cancelled, compared to second year students (32%) or students in their third year (31%)   
  • Just under half of students (49%) are satisfied with the online learning that has replaced their face-to-face teaching, compared to 23% of students who are dissatisfied
  • Almost a third (29%) of applicants feel less confident that they will get a place at their chosen university, compared to 20% who feel more confident. Just under half (46%) feel equally confident and 5% are unsure
  • For the majority (79%) of applicants, the pandemic has not had any impact on which university will be their first choice. Only 7% plan to change their first-choice university and another 14% are undecided


Read more 

The full results of the survey are available on HEPI's website. 

Survey Results

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