THE-ICE International Student Barometer and Student Barometer (ISBSB)™ Survey


In a world of expanding global education opportunities, understanding the student experience has become essential to the success of student acquisition and retention.

As part of THE-ICE’s commitment to significantly and sustainably enhancing the quality of higher education in tourism, hospitality, events and culinary arts (TH&E), since 2007 THE-ICE has partnered with i-graduate to conduct the annual ISBSB (International Student Barometer and Student Barometer™) Student Satisfaction Survey, monitoring and benchmarking international (ISB) and domestic (SB) student expectations and satisfaction at THE-ICE member institutions.


THE-ICE ISBSB tracks decision-making, expectations, perceptions, and intentions of international and domestic students from application to graduation. Participation in this student satisfaction research is mandatory for members of THE-ICE.

At the core of the ISBSB™ is an online questionnaire, tailored by THE-ICE for its members and completed by students across all levels and all years of study. The confidential responses are analysed and aggregated to deliver comparative insights and reported back in confidence to each member institution by THE-ICE Executive Team. Individual institutions’ performance is benchmarked externally and confidentially against the THE-ICE Index and a Global Index of institutions, enabling each member institution to focus attention on how they are doing over time as well as their overall performance against a peer group of institutions.

THE-ICE ISBSB is a collegial benchmarking and development program wherein “co-operative competitors” share anonymised performance measures, thoughts, and ideas to improve the quality of the overall TH&E education sector across the globe. The ISBSB™ also offers students a platform to tell their institutions, and THE-ICE, what matters most to them and how they feel about their experiences. The findings can be used to review all aspects of the student experience and deploy resources effectively, as well as to inform institutional student acquisition and retention strategies.

THE-ICE Benchmarking Rating Reports

Since 2018, THE-ICE have delivered the Benchmarking Rating (BR) Report, analysed and collated by i-graduate, as part of its deliverables to THE-ICE Members in addition to THE-ICE ISBSB™ Survey reports. Results have indicated that THE-ICE member institutions are leaders in the field of tourism, hospitality, events, and culinary arts education in key elements of student satisfaction, as benchmarked against the Global Index.

THE-ICE anticipates that these results will be utilised by member institutions for ongoing, informed internal quality assurance and enhancement, future student retention and acquisition planning, and improvement of their respective education programmes.

THE-ICE’s focus in conducting these benchmarking activities is to assist its members in fully understanding the experience of their students, across all programmes and types of students, both inside and outside the classroom.

Who conducts the survey?

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 and have developed partnerships with institutions, governments and education-related organisations, including THE-ICE.

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 and that change is best achieved by benchmarking performance against external indices and tracking improvements over time.

For more information about i-graduate, visit their website.

The Benefits of Benchmarking

As a quality assurance (QA) agency, THE-ICE adopts a stance on accreditation and benchmarking that aligns with most QA agency peers and QA umbrella networks: that scoring highly on a single ranking system does not necessarily equate to high quality education, given the ever-increasing number of global ranking systems.

The ISBSB™ results provide detailed insights into 80 measures of the whole student experience, grouped under the headings of Arrival, Living, Learning and Support. THE-ICE analyses and reports results by level of study, nationality, and a range of other comparative markers. The reporting process enables each institution to track changes in decision-making, expectations, perceptions, and intentions over time.

Optional customised analysis facilitates even more insightful analysis and enables members of THE-ICE to identify priority areas for investment, allocate resources more effectively to meet changing student’s expectations, and evaluate and adapt their recruitment and marketing efforts by student type.