How International Students Value and Assess Teaching Quality

Recent QS research has revealed how much importance international students place on high-quality teaching, but how do they gauge which universities offer high-quality teaching?  

The expertise and knowledge of lecturers and teachers has always been a key differentiator within the higher education space, and rightly so.  

Therefore, it’s no surprise that teaching quality emerged as an important deciding factor for prospective international students in our recent 2019 International Student Survey 

The students have spoken 

The survey unequivocally revealed that teaching quality is a main motivator during a range of decision-making stages for international students.  

Firstly, when choosing a course to study, 49% of respondents value a course with high-quality teaching.  

When choosing a country to study in, 55% value a country that has universities with high-quality teaching. 

Finally, when choosing a university, 57% look for high-quality teaching, topping the list of student priorities for this category.  

What is high-quality teaching?  

Our survey also demonstrated that international students have a strong grasp of what high-quality teaching means to them. 

When asked how they define teaching quality, the top three most important factors are the university’s teaching staff, up-to-date technology, and the university receiving recognition of its teaching quality from a country-wide measurement scheme 

Additionally, when asked what a high university ranking means to them, 74% of respondents believe the university has high-quality teaching staff. 

Given the importance placed on teaching quality, what is your university doing to promote your exceptional lecturers and teachers?  

How your university can respond  

One of the core areas that the QS World University Rankings assesses higher education institutions on is teaching.  

However, this area may be overshadowed by your overall rank, particularly if that rank is lower than you’d like. 

Under the QS Stars university rating system, teaching forms part of the core criteria and gets its own separate rating.  

This allows your university to showcase and promote your 5 Star Teaching rating with QS Stars in marketing materials and communications with prospective students.  

To achieve a 5 Star rating under the Teaching category, your university must achieve at least 105 out of 150 possible points, based on the following criteria: 

  • 10% faculty to student ratio, which means one faculty member per every 10 students 
  • 75% overall student satisfaction, or 90% of students graduating within the expected time 
  • 75% overall satisfaction with teaching, or 80% of faculty members hold a PhD or equivalent degree 
  • 30% of graduates pursuing further study within 12 months of graduation  

To learn more about how the QS Stars university rating system works and its Teaching category, reach out to our QS Stars team now 


About the Author:

As the B2B Content Marketing Manager, Sarah Linney is responsible for communicating the insights, research, and market analysis that have positioned QS as a thought leader in the higher education sector. After completing a Communications-Journalism degree at Charles Sturt University in Australia, Sarah worked in radio news and B2B print publishing before joining the content marketing sector. While working at a content marketing agency, Sarah was transferred to their New York office. She then led content marketing efforts at two tech startups in New York as a Content Manager before deciding to make the move to the UK and QS. 

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