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Chapter 4: Looking Deeper Part 2 – The enduring impact of COVID-19


Chapter 4 of the National Report 2021 focused on Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, Quality of Interactions, and Supportive Environment, as these were the indicators that showed the most significant differences between Baseline and 2021.

Representatives of the HEA at the National Report 2019 launch

It is evident from the 2022 results that these four impacted indicators have nearly reverted to pre-pandemic levels. The average score for Quality of Interactions among first year undergraduate respondents differed most statistically significantly from Baseline to 2021, and in 2022 the average indicator score for this indicator remained statistically significantly lower than Baseline, but the effect size was negligible. The same negligible difference between Baseline and 2022 was found for Student-Faculty Interaction and Supportive Environment. For Collaborative Learning scores, the average indicator score in 2022 was statistically significantly lower than at Baseline, and the difference here was small.

For all other indicators, the results stayed largely the same from Baseline to 2022. The average indicator scores for Higher-Order Learning and Effective Teaching Practices were statistically significantly lower in 2022 than at Baseline but the magnitude of the difference was small. The average indicator score for Reflective and Integrative Learning was statistically significantly higher in 2022 than at Baseline, but the magnitude of this difference was also small. Finally, for Quantitative Reasoning and Learning Strategies, there was a significant increase from Baseline to 2022 but the magnitude of the difference was negligible.

In summary, the first year undergraduate student experience (as demonstrated by the nine indicator scores) has not entirely reverted to pre-COVID levels. Nonetheless, a significant improvement is evident, particularly amongst those indicator scores that were initially most impacted by COVID-19 in 2021.