Student assessment of University performance during the COVID-19 pandemic

View the results of surveys carried out to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our students and help us improve the student experience.

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington has conducted a number of surveys to learn more about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our students. Insights from the surveys help to inform the continuous improvement of teaching and learning, research, and the overall student experience at the University.

The surveys are also designed to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning and student wellbeing, including the financial impact, to inform the University’s commitment to providing appropriate support and the best possible outcomes for students. Find out more about University hardship support for students during the pandemic.

Results from two of these surveys are now available. The first is the COVID-19 Student Experience Survey, which was conducted in May and June 2020, and was designed to evaluate our COVID-19 response and identify areas for improvement as well as positive experiences. Our participation in this survey will enable us to eventually benchmark information against other international research-intensive universities, informing our commitment to continuous learning and improvements in this area.

The second is our course evaluation survey for Trimester 1, which included the questions asked each Trimester about course organisation and assessment and additional questions specifically to address the COVID-19 response.

COVID-19 Student Experience Survey

Findings from the survey include:

  • Overall satisfaction with the University response to COVID-19 was pleasing, given the challenges the University, students, staff, and the wider community faced, including the speed of change and complexity of the adjustments in a constantly evolving situation.
  • Understandably, student wellbeing was significantly affected by the impact of COVID-19 with many students reporting anxiety, worry, feeling down, and having little interest in doing things.
  • Overall, students were able to adapt well to online learning, with high levels of satisfaction with support from academic staff and the overall quality of online classes.
  • Students enjoyed the flexibility to watch or re-watch recorded lectures, but many experienced a lack of motivation for online learning and missed the social interaction and access to facilities that are part of studying on campus.
  • There were challenges for some students in terms of increased workload and the demands of off-campus work, with many students saying they need a job to cover the costs of studying and supporting family.
  • The rapidly-evolving situation and uncertainty about the future as a result of the pandemic led to frustration with communication from the University and the New Zealand government.
  • Students appreciated the support from various student services including health and wellbeing advice, with the work undertaken by several teams to provide integrated services and support to our most vulnerable students of particular note.

You can read the survey results and a summary of the survey comments for more insight.

If you have any questions, email

Course evaluations for Trimester 1

Student evaluation of Trimester 1 courses—when the University was teaching online due to Government requirements as part of the COVID-19 response—show levels of satisfaction were high and similar to results in 2019.

Student feedback shows similar levels of satisfaction with the overall quality of learning, for how much students valued the courses they were taking, with course organisation and the communication of course objectives, and for the way in which assessments and feedback helped with student learning.

Three questions were added to the evaluation this year to understand how students viewed the University’s response to COVID-19 and the results for all are in the range considered to be very positive in regard to the use of online course materials and engagement.

Evaluations of teaching staff are confidential but show a similar pattern, with no discontent and levels of satisfaction that are consistent with those in 2019.

For more information, look at the high-level results.