PurposeHong Kong has undergone extensive curriculum reform and shifted from a three-year to a four-year university system. With a nuanced look at the impact of the curriculum reform, the purpose of the present study was to compare two concurrent cohorts by examining the extent to which the students in each cohort perceived their learning environment and learning outcomes differently and to what extent their perceptions differed.Design/methodology/approachA sample of 3,102 first-year students enrolled at a Hong Kong university responded to the student learning experience questionnaire (SLEQ). The perceived learning experiences between the two cohorts were tapped through several latent factors and validated through tests of measurement invariance. Latent mean differences were then compared. A multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis approach was used.FindingsThe findings suggested that measurement invariance of the scales of the SLEQ was established and that the two cohorts of students perceived largely similar learning experiences. The latent mean differences were statistically significant on the scales of feedback from teacher, clear goals and standards, personal integrity and ethics, intercultural competence, global perspective and civic commitment.Practical implicationsThe results facilitate the understanding of perceived student learning experiences with evidence-based implications for enhancing student learning experiences and refining the four-year curriculum under the new curriculum reform conditions.Originality/valueThis is the first institution-wide study that compares student learning experiences of two concurrent cohorts under curriculum reform initiatives of Hong Kong. It provides a meaningful and pertinent example for educators and researchers worldwide to analyze the impact of curriculum reform from the perspective of students’ perceived learning experiences. Similar studies adopting rigorous approaches in the measurement of students’ perceived learning experiences are relatively rare in higher education. Such efforts are encouraged for accountability and quality improvement purposes.
Quality Assurance in Education – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 3, 2017
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