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TEC measures show Massey delivering for students

August 25, 2011

TEC measures show Massey delivering for students

Tertiary Education performance indicators published today show that Massey University students are achieving at the high level of other New Zealand universities in rates of course and qualification completions.

The indicators are one measure of a tertiary organisation's performance – but there are many others that are arguably much more relevant to students. In Massey's case, these include the excellence of its teachers, who have won 14 national awards in the past 10 years, the quality of its research, and its consistently high student satisfaction ratings.

The indicators are published annually by the Tertiary Education Commission, which acknowledges that Massey is in a unique position as New Zealand’s largest provider of distance learning. Sixty-eight per cent of all universities' extramural students and a third of those studying part-time are at Massey.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey says Massey provides a distinctive and exceptional educational experience for its students and one of the key distinctions is the flexibility offered by its distance-learning programme. “Some of our students take longer to complete their degrees as they are distance learners who are also engaged in paid work. When we compare the performance indicators of full-time students only, Massey’s completion rates are on a par with other New Zealand universities," Mr Maharey says.

“Distance learning, one of Massey's defining features, enables a wide range of students to successfully complete qualifications, which is one of three key expectations the Government has of all universities. It provides opportunities to mature students and others who might not otherwise be able to contemplate university studies due to work or family commitments. Mr Maharey says Massey is continually working on ways to increase pass rates, which are up from last year, and higher qualification completion rates will flow from that.

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“Massey's strategy to increase course completion and qualification completion rates involves seeking to increase the ratio of internal and full-time students to distance and part-time students, and to increase the numbers of papers taken by part-time students to increase their likelihood of completing qualifications.

"It also involves strategies to assist distance students to juggle their study workloads and other commitments, to ensure they have a realistic understanding of what they are taking on. The Bridging the Distance project, completed last year, has been recognised internationally for its innovative approach to providing that support.”

The percentage of Massey domestic students who study part-time has reduced over the past five years from 61 per cent to 56 per cent. Changes to the makeup of the student population cannot occur rapidly without impacting negatively on the types of students who benefit from the flexibility of distance learning and part-time study.

The commission's performance measure relating to qualification completion rates needs to be viewed in light of the fact that when enrolments increase the completions percentage drops. The commission has said it plans to adjust the measure in future to reflect the fact that most degrees take a minimum of three years (and longer for part-time students) to complete.

The Tertiary Education Commission's educational performance indicators for all tertiary education organisations, including Massey University, are available on its website: http://www.tec.govt.nz/

For more information about what makes Massey New Zealand's defining university: Why Massey?


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