A Tale of Two cohorts: Measuring and Understanding the Learning Experience of the Double Cohort

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Jenny HUEN
The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


The present study examines the extent of variation in learning experience between two concurrent cohorts of first year students as a result of Education Reform in Hong Kong (known as the double cohort): students under the existing academic structure being admitted to the old three-year curriculum and students under the new academic structure being admitted to the new four-year curriculum. The Student Learning Experience Questionnaire (SLEQ), an instrument designed to measure students’ learning experience in higher education was validated in the present study in a sample of 3102 first year students at a Hong Kong university, including 1445 students of the three-year cohort and 1657 students of the four-year cohort. Results from the confirmatory factor analysis showed that the scales of students’ perceptions of learning environment (active learning, feedback from teacher, motivation, clear goals and standards, and appropriate assessment) in the SLEQ measured correlated constructs in a five-factor structure. In the comparison between the two cohorts on the factorial structure, results from the multiple-group confirmatory factor analysis imply that the two cohorts interpreted and responded to the studied scales in a similar manner. However, group difference existed between the two cohorts in their perceptions on feedback from teacher and clear goals and standards. These findings could enhance teaching and learning through a better understanding of the learning experience perceived by the double cohort. Implications of the present study to re-thinking higher education research, professional development and evaluation in globalized world (sub-theme of HERDSA 2014) will be addressed.

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