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HEFCE closed at the end of March 2018. The information on this website is historical and is no longer maintained.

Many of HEFCE's functions will be continued by the Office for Students, the new regulator of higher education in England, and Research England, the new council within UK Research and Innovation.

The HEFCE domain - - will continue to function until September 2018. At this point we will close the site entirely and all its information will only be available from the National Web Archive.


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This report outlines the findings of a programme of cognitive testing work relating to the National Student Survey and was used alongside the 2016 pilot analysis to help inform the questions for the new survey, as outlined in 'A new National Student Survey for 2017' (HEFCE Circular letter 30/2016).

The testing used cognitive interview techniques to explore students’ comprehension of the question statements and terminologies, particularly for the nine new student engagement questions, and students’ reactions to potential interfaces for the new survey.

Two phases of cognitive testing were conducted with 169 students, predominantly across 14 UK universities and colleges, between October 2015 and July 2016.

Date: 6 October 2016

Ref: Independent research