UWA 2020 Vision notes: 'A fundamental way in which the University advances "the prosperity and welfare of the people", both individually and collectively, is by educating students and producing graduates, who will contribute economically, culturally and socially, and provide leadership to their communities'.

It notes the importance of attracting students of the highest potential, and delivering 'an excellent educational experience by offering highly soughtafter educational courses … with leading contemporary educational methods, and an outstanding holistic student experience' with 'high levels of student satisfaction'.

Strategic goal

The University's strategic goal is to 'be recognised as a global leader in university education'.


UWA provides educational courses intended to deliver an excellent educational experience that will engage, challenge, and transform students through a rich variety of learning experiences.

Key performance indicators

Achievement of this goal will be measured by the following indicators:

Indicator 1.1 Student satisfaction on the Course Experience Questionnaire

This effectiveness indicator measures the quality of the University's courses and is derived from graduates' responses to the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) in the annual Australian Graduate Survey (AGS) conducted four months after students complete their courses.

Respondents to the CEQ are asked to record their responses to statements about various aspects of their courses. A five-point scale ranging from 1 (labelled 'strongly disagree') to 5 (labelled 'strongly agree') is used for this purpose. The proportion of graduates with a positive response is determined by dividing the total numbers of responses of 4 or 5 by the total number of valid responses to items on the respective CEQ scales.

The following table shows that while the University was aiming for improvement in the proportion of coursework degree graduates with positive responses to the CEQ, satisfaction fell further on the satisfaction item 'Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of the course' and on the Good Teaching Scale. Further, the percentage agreement on the Generic Skills Scale marginally decreased in 2015 by 1.8 per cent.

The University is implementing an extensive range of new strategies designed to enhance the quality of the student learning experience developed under its Education Futures Vision.

Percentage agreement(a)(b) on Course Experience Questionnaire scales, 2011 to 2015(c)

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 target
Percentage agreement—overall satisfaction index 84.1% 84.6% 83.1% 80.5% 78.4% 84%
Percentage agreement—good teaching scale 63.5% 62.4% 62.1% 60.5% 58.7% 63%
Percentage agreement—generic skills scale 76.7% 75.5% 75.7% 75.7% 73.9% 76%
Response rate 46.4% 51.7% 50.0% 49.8% 37.5% 50%

(a) Responses of students who completed undergraduate courses and non-Higher Degree Research postgraduate courses.
(b) Percentage of responses that were 4 or 5 on the five-point scale.
(c) Year refers to the reference year of the survey.i.e. 2015 represents 2014 graduates.

Source: Australian Graduate Survey, Course Experience Questionnaire, Graduate Careers Australia.

Indicator 1.2 Course completion rates

This effectiveness indicator shows the proportion of all non-Higher Degree Research (non-HDR) course separations in a given year that were associated with course completions.

A separation is considered to have occurred in a given year when a student who was enrolled in the previous year does not enrol in the same course or another course of the same broad course type in the following two years. It should be noted that students who transfer between courses within a two-year period are not considered to have separated for the purposes of calculating this indicator.

The overall proportion of non-HDR separations due to completions was 76 per cent in 2014 which exceeded the target of 75 per cent. Note that the postgraduate coursework component of 78.7 per cent was slightly below the target of 80 per cent.

Percentage completion per separation(a) 2010 to 2014(b)

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2014 target
Postgraduate coursework 79.9% 77.0% 82.2% 79.0% 78.7% 80%
Undergraduate 73.3% 72.0% 72.6% 73.2% 75.2% 73%
Total 75.1% 73.4% 75.3% 74.7% 76.0% 75%

(a) The percentage of course separations (i.e. students not enrolling for two successive years) due to successful completion of a course (excluding HDR).
(b) Year refers to year of separation.

Source: UWA Executive Information System

Indicator 1.3 Student pass rates

The proportion of student load passed is an effectiveness indicator that measures the quality of the student learning experience. The following table shows that the pass rate increased from 90.6 per cent in 2013 to 91.4 per cent in 2014, which is still below the ongoing target of 92 per cent.

Student load pass rate(a) by broad field of education, 2010 to 2014

Broad field of education 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Natural and Physical Sciences 87.3% 86.3% 85.9% 85.7% 87.8%
Information Technology 83.3% 81.0% 80.4% 81.3% 82.9%
Engineering and Related Technologies 92.0% 91.4% 92.5% 91.4% 91.9%
Architecture and Building 90.5% 88.8% 88.0% 89.0% 89.2%
Agriculture, Environmental Studies 95.3% 96.0% 96.5% 96.2% 93.9%
Health 97.8% 97.7% 97.7% 97.4% 97.1%
Education 96.3% 96.8% 96.1% 95.2% 96.2%
Management and Commerce 93.9% 93.1% 92.4% 92.9% 93.6%
Society and Culture 92.0% 90.9% 90.7% 90.1% 90.7%
Creative Arts 93.9% 93.3% 92.1% 92.9% 92.9%
Total 91.9% 91.0% 90.8% 90.6% 91.4%

(a) The student load pass rate has been calculated as a proportion of the total enrolled load excluding higher degree by research units and units with incomplete results. Incomplete results may be recorded when a student has neither withdrawn nor failed, but when unit marks have not yet been recorded.

Source: Commonwealth Government Higher Education Student Data Collection: Student Load Liability (LL) and Unit of Study Completions (CU) files.

Indicator 1.4 Graduate employment outcomes

The destinations of graduates in the first year following completion of their course is a proxy measure of the quality of the University’s courses and how well they meet individual, local (state) and national needs. Comparison of the employment outcomes relative to those of graduates from other Western Australian universities adjusts for the impacts of changes in the local labour market conditions.

The following table summarises the responses, obtained from the Australian Graduate Surveys (AGS) conducted by the University in conjunction with Graduate Careers Australia (GCA). In particular, it shows the employment outcomes of domestic students who completed an undergraduate course in a Western Australian university and subsequently completed the AGS. The table includes the proportion of graduates in their desired mode of employment, which is the sum of the proportions of respondents seeking employment who were in full-time employment and those in part-time or casual employment, not seeking full-time employment. It also includes a ratio which compares the percentage of UWA graduates in their desired mode of employment with the employment outcomes achieved by graduates from other WA universities.

Note: In light of increasing numbers of international students who were gaining permanent resident status as a result of completing their studies, from 2012, the fee-paying status of students has been used to identify domestic students rather than the permanent resident status that was used previously.

As can be seen, the Australian Graduate Survey conducted in 2015 found that 71.2 per cent of bachelor’s degree graduates from this University who were seeking employment had obtained their preferred mode of employment, as compared with 70.3 per cent of those from other WA universities. However the employment ratio of 1.01 was below the target value of 1.03 which is the average of the previous four years’ results rounded up to two decimal places. The significant decrease in students employed fulltime over the past five years, and the lower than target employment ratio, appear to be the result of the economic downturn within Western Australia, which has occurred over the last 18 months.

Employment destinations of domestic students who completed undergraduate courses(a) at UWA and other Western Australian universities, 2011 to 2015

    2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
The University of Western Australia
  Number of respondents seeking employment 823 890 955 1038 847
  In full-time employment 68.5% 66.2% 60.4% 53.1% 51.1%
  In part-time or casual employment, not seeking full-time employment 13.0% 16.3% 18.1% 18.0% 20.1%
  Working part-time or casual, seeking full-time employment 10.9% 9.7% 13.2% 17.1% 17.5%
  Not working, seeking full-time employment 6.4% 7.1% 7.5% 10.7% 9.7%
  Not working, seeking part-time or casual employment only 1.1% 0.8% 0.7% 1.1% 1.7%
  In desired mode of employment(b) 81.5%  82.5%  78.5%  71.1%  71.2% 
Other Western Australian universities
  Number of respondents seeking employment 4,092 4,032 3,817 4,612 4,131
  In full-time employment 64.2% 66.8% 58.8% 53.7% 53.2%
  In part-time or casual employment, not seeking full-time employment 13.4% 14.6% 17.9% 16.5% 17.1%
  Working part-time or casual, seeking full-time employment 13.7% 11.4% 14.4% 18.0% 17.8%
  Not working, seeking full-time employment 7.6% 6.3% 7.9% 10.5% 10.0%
  Not working, seeking part-time or casual employment only 1.1% 0.9% 1.0% 1.2% 1.8%
  In desired mode of employment(b) 77.7%  81.4%  76.7%  70.3%  70.3% 
Ratio of graduates in desired mode of employment—UWA versus other WA average(c) 1.05 1.01 1.02 1.01 1.01

(a) Destinations (as of 30 April or 31 October) of domestic students who completed undergraduate (bachelor's pass, bachelor's honours, bachelor's graduate entry or undergraduate diploma) courses in the previous semester excluding overseas residents who were seeking employment.
(b) Discrepancies between the sums of component items and the totals are due to rounding.
(c) The ratio of graduates in their desired mode of employment compares the employment outcomes of UWA graduates relative to those of graduates from other Western Australian universities.

Sources:UWA 2015 Australian Graduate Survey Final Table A, National Table C and Graduate Destination Survey, 2015. Further information available from Graduate Careers Australia

Indicator 1.5 Proportions of top school leavers enrolled

The quality of the University's students is seen as a key driver in achieving the University's strategic goal for education. The University's share of students in top Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) bands is an effectiveness indicator that measures the University's ability to attract a student cohort of the highest quality and how well the student experience is regarded.

Data from the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) show that in 2015 the University enrolled 74.1 per cent of WA school leaver applicants with an ATAR of 95 or above and 68.2 per cent of those with an ATAR of 90 or above as compared with respective targets of 75.7 per cent and 69.1 per cent, which were based on previous performance.

Proportions of top school leavers(a) admitted to UWA, 2011 to 2015

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 target
With an ATAR of 95+ 76.9% 78.8% 73.8% 73.5% 74.1% 75.7%
With an ATAR of 90+ 69.5% 71.4% 68.2% 67.0% 68.2% 69.1%

(a) School leavers are those matriculating with an ATAR (formerly known as Tertiary Entrance Rank) in the previous two years.

Source: TISC dataset, AP027, Tertiary Institutions Service Centre, as at 10 March 2015.

Indicator 1.6 Access rates for designated equity groups

The University recognises the importance of achieving a more diverse student population and has developed a range of strategies to improve the access and participation of students from designated equity groups.

The University's success in recruiting a diverse student population is measured using access rates for designated equity groups, i.e. low socioeconomic status (SES) students, non-English speaking background (NESB) students, Indigenous students, students with disabilities, and students from regional and remote locations.

The postcode of the permanent home address is used to identify students from regional and remote localities and as a proxy for socioeconomic status, based on data collected in the 2011 Census and the Australian Statistical Geography Standard.

The University successfully exceeded the targets of access rates for a non-English speaking background, Indigenous, students with disabilities, and regional students. Notably the University achieved significant increases in access rates for low SES and students with disabilities over 2014's results.

Access rates for designated equity groups(a) admitted to UWA, 2011 to 2015

  2011  2012  2013  2014(d) 2015(e) 2015 target 
Low SES students(b) 8.47%  8.83%  8.76%  8.96%  9.41%  9.48% 
NESB students(c) 4.35%  5.02%  5.18%  5.60%  5.85%  5.60% 
Indigenous students 1.60% 1.40% 1.55% 1.53% 1.70% 1.68%
Students with disabilities 7.47% 7.13% 7.43% 6.99% 7.77% 7.47%
Regional students 8.16% 8.56% 9.03% 8.92% 9.08% 9.03%
Remote students 1.67% 1.64% 2.23% 2.06% 2.08% 2.23%

(a) The access rate is the proportion of the domestic undergraduate commencing students who are from the designated group.
(b) SES has been attributed on the basis of the postcode of the permanent home address.
(c) NESB students are those students who arrived in Australia in the previous 10 years and speak a language other than English at home.
(d) Final figures, as opposed to preliminary figures given in the 2014 Annual Report.
(e) 2015 data is correct as at 31 October 2015 and is final for units with a census date prior to this date.

Source: Commonwealth Government Higher Education Student Data Collection files, 2011 to 2015, Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas 2011.

Indicator 1.7 Students studying abroad

UWA 2020 Vision states that the University's success as a global leader in university education will be measured, among other things, by the percentage of students with study abroad or student exchange experiences. The proportion of its student load linked to study abroad and the percentage of its graduates who undertake a study abroad experience at some stage during their degree are used as effectiveness indicators to measure this aspect of the University's student experience.

In 2015, the percentage of UWA domestic bachelor's load linked to study abroad dropped to 1.2 per cent from 1.5 per cent attained in 2014. Thus, the University did not reach its target of 1.9 per cent. It appears that the lower value of the Australian dollar is, in part, responsible for the recent decline in Study Abroad numbers.

UWA domestic bachelor's degree students studying abroad, 2011 to 2015

  2011  2012  2013  2014(a) 2015(b) 2015 target
Total domestic bachelor's load (EFTSL) 12,812 13,504 13,827 13,652 11,620  
Domestic bachelor's load linked to Study Abroad (EFTSL) 199 187 234 208 141  
% Study abroad load 1.6% 1.4% 1.7% 1.5% 1.2% 1.9%
Total domestic bachelor's completions(c) 2,681  2,909  3,178  3,991(c) (d)  
 Domestic bachelor's graduates with study abroad during their course 229  263  327  439(c) (d)  
 % Domestic bachelor's graduates with study abroad experience during their course 8.5%  9.0%  10.3%  11.0%(c) (d)  

(a) 2014 finalised results.
(b) 2015 results are preliminary as at 16 January 2016.
(c) A small number of students have multiple completions in a given year. This indicator counts students that graduate and not completions so there is some discrepancy between the total bachelors completions reported here and those reported elsewhere.
(d) 2015 course completions are not available until May 2016.

Source: Performance Analytics internal load and completions datasets and the Student Information Management System.

Indicator 1.8 Expenditure ratios

Expenditure ratios are provided as efficiency indicators. They show the relationship between the resources used and the services provided. Expenditure attributed to teaching is used as a measure of the resources used, while the number of graduates and equivalent full-time students are used as measures of the services provided.

Commonwealth-supported students generate the largest proportion of the funds used for teaching. Funding for these students comprises student contributions and Commonwealth Grants Scheme funds, both of which are essentially determined by the application of uniform national funding rates to the student load reported in each discipline category. As a consequence, the funding per equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL) for Commonwealth-supported students mainly reflects the student load mix.

The fees for international students and for domestic students enrolled on a fee-paying basis are set in a competitive environment and therefore reflect the perception of the University's courses–a premium is earned for courses with high demand and is usually used for teaching purposes. Thus high expenditure figures may reflect a perceived high quality set of courses.

The expenditure on teaching is therefore strongly related to the income generated for teaching, which in turn, reflects mainly the discipline mix of Commonwealth-supported students and the level of fees charged for fee-paying courses.

The following table presents ratios of the total expenditure (excluding research-only expenditure) to the equivalent full-time loads and weighted student units of all students at the University. The target expenditure figures of $39,789 per EFTSL and $35,485 per weighted student unit represent a real increase of one per cent in per capita expenditure and are consistent with the University seeking to increase expenditure to enhance the student experience, among advancing other objectives, albeit with significant financial constraints. Because of the half-cohort impact, the EFTSL in 2015 was much lower than 2014. As a result, the University's expenditure per EFTSL and weighted student unit significantly increased in 2015 from 2014.

With the slowing of the Australian economy in 2011, further budgetary restraints were exercised in 2012 which essentially capped previously planned growth in expenditure. The impacts of budget tightening are not so immediately apparent in the expenditure per completion indicators because the expenditure is averaged over three years for these indicators. Nonetheless, the table below shows expenditure per course completion has decreased each year since 2011, by a total of more than 15 per cent.

Expenditure ratios, 2011 to 2015

  2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2015 target
Expenditure(a) / EFTSL $38,909  $38,641  $39,395  $38,422  $43,909  $39,789 
Expenditure(a) / Weighted student unit(b) $34,716  $34,508  $35,134  $34,058  $37,947  $35,485 
Expenditure(c) / Course completion(d) $127,665  $126,994  $125,572  $108,607  -(f)  
Expenditure(c) / Weighted completion(d)(e) $106,587  $106,263  $106,258  $94,900  -(f)  

(a) Total expenditure, excluding research-only expenditure and Perth International Arts Festival expenditure, indexed to 2015 dollar values. Includes losses on sale of property, plant and equipment of $357k in 2012, $833k in 2013, $1.4m in 2014, and $18.2m in 2015, investment losses of $32.5m in 2011 and $8.3m in 2015, actuarial losses of $523k in 2014 and $119k in 2015 (all indexed to 2015 dollar values).
(b) Weighted student units are calculated by multiplying student load in higher degree research by 2.0, other postgraduate and honours load by 1.3 and bachelor's (including graduate entry) load by 1.0.
(c) Total expenditure (in 2015 dollar values) excluding research-only expenditure averaged over the past three years.
(d) Higher doctorates are excluded. There was one higher doctorate completion in 2011, and nil since.
(e) Weighted by multiplying the number of completions in higher degree research by 2.0, other postgraduate and honours completions by 1.3 and bachelor's (including graduate entry) completions by 1.0.
(f) The number of completions for 2015 is not available until May 2016.

Source: EFTSL and units are from UWA Performance Analytics' 31 March Load SAS datasets. Completions are from the Past Course Completions file sent to the Commonwealth Government. Expenditure figures are from Financial Services, The University of Western Australia.