Benchmarking research

Introducing THE-ICE Benchmarking Research

Today’s students have a world of choice, and few will decide where to study without finding out what the experience is going to be like.  Consequently understanding the current student experience also becomes critical to the success of future student recruitment.  THE-ICE, though its strategic partnership with i-graduate, uses a tool called THE-ICE annual ISB-SB (International Student Barometer and Student Barometer™) Student Satisfaction Survey to monitor student expectations and satisfaction.  THE-ICE annual ISB-SB™ surveys cover both international (ISB) and domestic students (SB) at THE-ICE accredited member institutions.

The results for an individual member institution are aggregated along with the other members of THE-ICE to form a ‘THE-ICE Index’.  We also draw on the resources of i-graduate to create a ‘Global Index’ to measure performance of a wider set of institutions.  Further, THE-ICE can also produce customised confidential peer group comparison data sets too.  Consequently, our benchmarking activities provide unique and invaluable insights for our members that no other organisation is currently able to do.

i-graduate-tribal-logo-369wWho is i-graduate?

The International Graduate Insight Group (i-graduate) is an independent benchmarking and consultancy service that delivers comparative insights for the education sector worldwide.  They specialise in the delivery of world-class insight tools and studies for stakeholders in education.  They have developed partnerships with institutions, governments and education-related organisations (such as THE-ICE). Their customers and partners are 1,200 of the world’s leading universities, colleges and schools, plus governments and government agencies, across 24 countries.

The purpose of i-graduate is to enable education providers to maximise competitive advantage, value and quality. They believe that the perceptions of students and stakeholders are a new currency for change in the education sector. Once objective measures are in place, they believe change is best achieved by benchmarking performance against external indices and tracking improvements over time.

For more information about i-graduate, see the i-graduate website

What is the ISB-SB™?

The ISB and SB (International Student Barometer and Student Barometer™) Student Satisfaction Surveys track decision-making, expectations, perceptions and intentions of international students from application to graduation.  At the core of the ISB-SB™ is an online questionnaire, which has been tailored by THE-ICE for our members.  The survey is completed by students across all levels and all years of study.  Students respond in confidence to i-graduate.  Responses are then analysed and aggregated to deliver comparative insights, and reported back in confidence by THE-ICE to each member institution.

The ISB-SB™ offers students a medium to tell THE-ICE and our members what matters most and what they think of their experience.  The findings can be used to review all aspects of the student experience and deploy resources effectively, as well as to inform a member’s recruitment and retention strategies.

The Benefits of Benchmarking

Given that accredited members of THE-ICE are committed to enhancing the overall student experience, participation in the annual THE-ICE ISB-SB™ is essential.  Analysis is provided by level of study, nationality, and a range of other comparative markers.  The reporting process enables each member to track changes in decision-making, expectations, perceptions and intentions over time.  Across THE-ICE member institutions, insights into 80 measures of the whole student experience are grouped under the headings of Arrival, Living, Learning and Support.

The data is then aggregated, and an individual institution’s performance is benchmarked externally and confidentially against the THE-ICE Index and a Global Index of institutions.  This enables each member to focus attention on how not only how they are doing over time, but vis a vis the overall performance against of a peer group of institutions.

Optional customised analysis for members also permits even more insightful analysis.  It allows members of THE-ICE to identify priority areas for investment, and to allocate resources more effectively to meet changing student’s expectations.  The results also enable our members to evaluate and adapt recruitment and marketing efforts by student type.