THE-ICE ISBSB™ Survey & Benchmarking Research

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


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), THE-ICE has partnered with i-graduate since 2007 to conduct the annual THE-ICE 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 accredited member institutions.


THE-ICE ISBSB (International Student Barometer and Student Barometer™) Student Satisfaction Survey is a collegial benchmarking and development program wherein “co-operative competitors” share anonymised performance measures, thoughts, and ideas to improve the quality of TH&E education across the globe.

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

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 ISBSB™ 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.

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. 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 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-ICE Benchmarking Rating Reports & Global Premier Ranking Awards

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

This is the first ranking system based solely on quantitative data of student satisfaction and member institutions achieving a premier ranking of #1 against the Global Index are recognised annually by THE-ICE for their outstanding and ongoing commitment to quality.

Click here to view a list of THE-ICE member institutions who have achieved Global Premier Ranking.

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 external and confidential benchmarking of each institution’s aggregate data against the THE-ICE Index and a Global Index of institutions enables each member to focus on not only how they are doing over time, but also their overall performance against of a peer group of institutions. Further, this assists institutions in identifying priority areas for investment, allocate resources more effectively to meet changing student expectations, and evaluate and adapt their recruitment and marketing efforts by student type.