Student survey cycle
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before ordering a student feedback survey. Thinking about the following before you order will help you make the best use of TEDS surveys.
What is your overall purpose? How do surveys fit into your plan for teaching and/or unit convening, and your professional evaluation, learning and career progression?
We promote student feedback surveys as one element of evaluation, used for a range of purposes. Your purpose may be purely formative (feedback to inform your development and enhancement of student learning), or a mix of formative and summative, with the intention of using the results as evidence in performance review, probation and professional recognition/promotion processes. You might also have a largely summative purpose in relation to the assessment and assurance of quality in the context of unit and/or course review.
Do you need a student feedback survey for this purpose? Do you already have a good record of surveying? Is it a good time to try another form of evaluation to triangulate your survey data?
Research data indicates that survey results tend to be fairly consistent within individual teachers and units, other than in cases where major changes to unit curriculum (including mode of offering and assessment) have been made. There is no need to survey every offering of a unit, or every class you teach.
Ideally, units should be surveyed in accordance with your Department’s evaluation cycle. TEDS recommends that unit surveys be conducted every second offering, and/or cycling through any different delivery modes used.
When seeking feedback on your own teaching, TEDS recommends that you undertake at most two surveys in any one unit, and vary the units surveyed in each teaching session, so that you obtain feedback across a range of teaching contexts (e.g. delivery modes, class types and course levels).
Exceptions to the above might be made for pedagogical or quality assurance purposes, for assessing the impact of a curriculum or teaching intervention/enhancement, or to align with an application for an award or promotion (noting that in these two cases, it is a consistent approach to seeking and responding to student feedback that adds value to an application, not the act of surveying itself).
Limiting the frequency of surveying reduces the risk of survey fatigue. This can be a genuine issue for students, with a negative impact on the quality of their feedback.
This doesn’t mean that you should not undertake evaluation of, or seek student feedback on, your units or teaching when you are not ordering surveys for them. On the contrary, it is advisable to seek feedback and evaluative data from a range of sources, and in different ways. There are several other methods of evaluation to explore – see Teaching and Unit Evaluation Methods for ideas.
Which survey(s) is most appropriate for your purpose?
|Teaching surveys focus on obtaining your students’ comments on aspects of your teaching. The most common teaching survey is the Learner Experience of Teaching or LET. TEDS recommends that teachers undertake at least one per study period. If you have a teaching load, the MQ Academic Staff Enterprise Agreement requires you to complete at least one teaching survey per year, in a class of your choice. The aim is to inform reflection on your teaching practice and to support your professional development and promotion activities. This questionnaire is designed to provide student feedback on teaching to individual teachers.|
Unit surveys focus on the students’ perceptions of various aspects of curriculum. The most common unit survey is the Learner Experience of Unit questionnaire, or LEU. If you are a unit convenor you need to ensure that your unit is regularly reviewed. TEDS suggests that formal unit surveys be carried out regularly, every second or third offering. Unit surveys assist the unit review process by providing insight into the student perspective on the unit. The Learner Experience of Unit Questionnaire can be used as part of a course or program review or evaluation. It can also be appropriately used to evaluate external or distance units.
If you are seeking student feedback on your teaching
- Most teachers should select the Learner Experience of Teaching (LET) questionnaire
- If you are supervising postgraduate research students, select the Individual Supervisor Survey (ISS) questionnaire
- If you are a casual tutor in the Macquarie Business School, you have the option of using a SPoTS (Student Perception of Tutor Skills) questionnaire. Your SASU Administrator will organise this for you.
If you are seeking student feedback on your unit (this includes unit organisation, information, learning activities and assessment):
- For qualitative feedback on students’ early experience in your unit, select the Early Experience of Unit questionnaire. This is designed for delivery in Weeks 2-4 of the teaching session, so needs to be ordered as soon as possible after the order site opens.
- For most units, the Learner Experience of Unit (LEU) is the appropriate questionnaire to select for an end-of-session survey.
- If you are convening a PACE unit, you need to select the PACE questionnaire. (Note that the “PACE pre-activity” questionnaire is currently ordered via on online form – your PACE contact will advise you on this.
Which questionnaire items will you include?
ISS, Early Experience, PACE and SPoTS surveys have a fixed set of items (no options).
LET and LEU Core items are included automatically.
The LET survey gives you the option of either a group of 5 pre-selected themed or popular items, or 5 individual items from the LET Item Bank (login required).
The LEU survey may include a group of 4 themed or popular items selected by your Head of Department/School Dean; you may choose an additional group of items from the LEU Item Bank (login required). If your Department/School has not exercised this option, you may choose two such groups for your survey.
Once you’ve decided the “why” and the “what” for your survey(s), it’s time to commence the process by ordering your survey. See the next section to guide your next steps in the student survey order and delivery cycle.
Survey Order and delivery process
When to order
Don't leave ordering until the last minute. With the exception of Early Experience Surveys, Surveys should be ordered at 21 days before you want the survey to be made available to students.
Order your survey
To commence your order, select the appropriate survey for your purpose from the dropdown menu on the Survey Order website. Then click on “Start my order” to be taken to the online order form. You will need to log in with your OneID and password.
TEDS will send you an email confirmation of your order. Please check it and contact TEDS (email@example.com) if you need to make any changes or amendments. The email includes links to support resources for maximising the effectiveness of your student feedback surveys.
Prepare your students
Tell your students early in the study period that you will be seeking feedback from them on your teaching or unit. Explain why their feedback is important to you, and how you intend to use it to reflect on and enhance your teaching practice or the unit design. Provide some examples of how you have used student feedback in the past to review your teaching and/or unit design, and any changes you have made in the light of this.
Experience has shown that letting the students know that they will be expected to complete a survey, and that their input is valued, increases their engagement in the process.
Important note: If you have ordered an LET survey for one or more particular classes (defined by type and class number), please ask your students to register in the class(es). If student are not registered in the correct class, TEDS cannot deliver the survey to them, either via email or iLearn. This means that these students lose their “voice” in relation to giving you feedback on your teaching, and that you will miss out on feedback that you can use to enhance your teaching practice.
The week before your survey opens, remind your students again about the survey and encourage them to complete it. For students in face-to-face classes, inform them that they will need to bring a mobile-enabled device (phone, tablet or laptop, unless you are holding classes in a lab) to class to complete the survey.
Remember to reassure students that their identity will not be linked to their responses in any reporting of survey data, and that you will not be receiving the survey summary results and comments until after students’ grades have been finalised and approved.
When the survey opens
TEDS will notify you via email that your survey has opened.
If you have face-to-face classes, you will obtain the best response rate and results if you make time for students to do the survey during class time. This is the single most important step you can take to ensure a valid response rate and useful feedback.
If your students are attending online only, use both iLearn and live or recorded interaction (e.g. Zoom/ECHO) to promote your surveys and encourage students to complete them.
TEDS supplies THIS RESOURCE for teachers with tips for maximising response rates and the quality of their survey feedback, in both face-to-face and online contexts.
TEDS also supplies THIS RESOURCE to show students in class or online how to access their surveys.For LEU surveys, it is generally more effective to make time during tutorials, rather than lectures, for students to do the survey. This means you need to plan for this by briefing tutors and providing them with the student-facing information linked above.
TEDS also provides you with a pdf printout of your survey questionnaire that you can use as a self-evaluation tool. Complete the survey as honestly as you can, reflecting on your own approach, what worked well, and what did work so well, and the changes you might want to make for the next teaching session/unit offering. Your answers can be used to inform your subsequent reflection on the students’ feedback, and your subsequent actions to enhance your practice and your students’ learning experience.
Track your survey’s progress
TEDS provides tools for unit convenors and teachers to track their survey’s response rates. Unit convenors can access this via their iLearn unit, while individual teachers should use [add link] to track their class numbers. THIS RESOURCE provides detailed instructions.
TEDS will send you an email notification if your survey is not tracking towards a valid response rate, so that you can take additional action to remind and encourage students to complete the survey.In the second week of the survey’s open period, TEDS also issues reminders to students who are yet to respond.
Survey types and questions
Other Survey Types:
Early Experience of Unit surveys
These are a type of unit survey that should be ordered for administration in week 3 of the study period. Early surveys allow you to identify student concerns that may require immediate action.
PACE Unit Survey
The Learner Experience of PACE Units survey (PACE) survey contains the standard LEU questions and a set of questions specific to PACE that were developed through the PACE evaluation.
Further types include Individual Supervisor Survey (ISS), SPoTS (Contact TEDS) and various custom surveys (TEDS staff only).
LET surveys have between 7 and 9 core questions to which you may add up to 5 optional questions selected from the question bank. You do not need to specify the core questions which will be automatically included in your questionnaire. Additional questions are optional. The core questions address factors known to contribute to good teaching.
The core items are based on generic attributes of good teaching. Staff may select optional items from the Question Bank or from pre-selected groupings to gain more specific feedback on their teaching.
Please note that there is a limit to the number of LET surveys you can order. This limit is two (2) LETs per unit availability. This is to reduce the number of unnecessary surveys administered to our students. The primary purpose of the LET survey is to inform critical reflection of your teaching practice and it is believed that two valid LET surveys is adequate for this purpose.
The questionnaire consists of:
These questions will be included in all LET surveys – it will not be necessary to specify them when placing your order.
|[COT01]||This teacher communicated well with the class. (Scaled question)|
|[QOT01]||Please comment on this teacher's communication skills. (Open-ended question)|
|[QOT02]||Please comment on how this teacher engaged you with learning. (Open-ended)|
|[COT02]||This teacher explained concepts clearly. (Scaled)|
|[COT03]||This teacher created a good environment for learning. (Scaled)|
|[COT04]||This teacher stimulated me intellectually. (Scaled)|
|[COT06]||This teacher treated students with respect. (Scaled)|
|[COT07]||This teacher seemed helpful and approachable. (Scaled)|
|[QOT03]||Please comment on how this teacher demonstrated concern for your learning. (Open-ended)|
|[COT08]||This teacher made constructive suggestions for improving my work. (Scaled)|
|[QOT04]||What other things did your teacher do to support your learning? (Open-ended)|
|[QOT05]||What were the most positive aspects of this teacher's practice? (Open-ended)|
|[QOT06]||What aspects of this teacher's practice could be improved? (Open-ended)|
|[QOT07]||Please comment on your overall experience of learning with this teacher. (Open-ended)|
The following question will be automatically included on surveys where the teaching involves active learning.
|[COT05]||This teacher engaged me in active learning. (Scaled).|
The following question will be automatically included on surveys where the teacher is responsible for marking assignments.
|[COT09]||This teacher commented on my work in ways that helped me learn. (Scaled).|
You may also select up to 5 individual questions, or a group of 5 questions pre-selected by TEDS, focusing on aspects of teaching. A list of these optional items (questions) can be found here.
LEU surveys have 16 core questions which are automatically used in all LEU surveys since Session 1, 2018. Departments may select an additional question group to be automatically added to all LEU surveys for that department. Further, if the department has not selected a department group, the unit convenor may add up to two additional groups; if the department has selected a group then the convenor can add a further group.
|CRU01||The unit's learning outcomes were clear to me.|
|CRU02||The assessment criteria were clearly defined.|
|CRU03||The grading standards or grade descriptors were clear to me.|
|Please comment on the clarity of the unit's learning outcomes, assessment criteria and grading standards. How could this be improved?|
|CRU04||The online Unit Guide provided an adequate description of what to expect in this unit.|
|CRU05||The information provided in this unit (unit guide/outline, handouts, websites etc) assisted my learning.|
|CRU06||The unit content was organised in ways that assisted my learning.|
|What additional information (if any) would you like to have received?|
|CRU07||Teaching sessions (face-to-face and/or online) kept me engaged in the unit.|
|CRU08||The unit's learning activities encouraged active engagement with the subject matter.|
|CRU09||The way technology was used in this unit assisted my learning.|
|CRU10||I was motivated to work hard in this unit.|
|What aspect of the unit most engaged and motivated your study? What could be done to improve student engagement and motivation?|
|CRU11||Assessment tasks were clearly related to the unit learning outcomes.|
|CRU12||The assessment tasks were a useful learning exercise.|
|CRU13||Please select the response that best describes the timeliness of assessment feedback in this unit. In general, assessment feedback was: provided promptly provided in time to guide my subsequent study/assessment work provided too late to be of much use to me.|
Please select the responses (as many as apply) that best describe the usefulness of the assessment feedback you received in this unit. Overall, assessment feedback in this unit:
|Please add any general feedback on your experience in this unit. What worked well? What could be improved?|
In addition to the core questions, Unit Convenors can select question groups focusing on particular themes. Each question group contains 4 questions which, together, potentially make up a scale relating to that theme.
Heads of Departments can also select a question group to be added to all LEU surveys for the department for the “current” year. Unless the department has selected a question group, the convenor can select up to two additional question groups if so desired – selection is optional; if the department has selected a group the convenor can only select one group.
Department questions are selected at the commencement of session 1 and remain active for the year.
Information for students
Students can access surveys through the link they are emailed on the survey open date, as well as the 'Student Feedback Surveys' iLearn block. Student feedback matters, and teachers should provide relevant information to students being surveyed. This PDF is designed to help convey important information for students about surveys.
View and interpret your survey results
In addition to individual survey reports, there are also summary and comparison reports available here:
Summaries of LET and LEU surveys conducted in your department. Please note that access to these pages is restricted to authorised department personnel.
Your own LET and LEU survey details. You can only see surveys linked to your MQID.
(iLearn login required) Compare your LET/LEU core question results with three year averages for your department, your faculty, or the University.
Your survey report
Your survey report will be emailed to the address recorded in the TEDS staff database and confirmed by you when you placed your order.
In addition to the report, the covering email contains links to a number of useful review sites.
You should receive your emailed report within a few days of the exam results being ratified. If you have not received your report by then, please contact TEDS.
Interpret your report.
To be able to make use of the statistical summary included with your survey report it is important that your survey receive a sufficient response rate. The response rate required for your survey to be considered valid is dependant on the number of students enrolled in the unit or registered in the class - class sizes and the required rate can be viewed below.
You will need to consider all the survey information in relation to the context within which you were teaching, and the students in your class. For example, if your response rate is down, who actually did complete the survey? Are they students who usually turn up to class, or those who make greater use of online lectures? Are they first year, third year or postgraduate students? Is this a lecture, a tutorial or a practical class? All these factors may explain or shed light on the interpretation of the report.
Decoding Your Report
The top of your report would look something like the following (the wording can be slightly different):
This section of the report identifies the lecturer/convenor, the department, the unit/class being surveyed, the survey period, the number of responses to the survey, and the percentage of the class/unit who responded to the survey. The "fine print" in the top right-hand corner of the report provides the TEDS reference number for the survey, the questionnaire used, and the full name of the unit.
Your report will contain a legend identifying how the various statistical terms used in the analysis are shown on the report.
Note: while shown in the legend, the ab (Abstention) value is not used in the Macquarie student surveys. Students are, instead, instructed to simply ignore any question not relevant to their unit.
Likert (scaled) Questions: This section shows a summary of the responses to each scaled question.
n (number): is the number of responses for the respective question.
av (mean): is the statistical term for the average of a set of numbers. In this case, the mean is the average of the students' rating on this item. The higher the mean, the more positive is the general sentiment towards this item. The highest possible mean would be 5.0.
md (median): is the middle point in an ordered sequence of the scores received. In this example, the actual scores received were: 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1. This is an 11-number sequence so the middle point is the 6th response, which has a value of 4. The median figure is less influenced by outlier responses than is the mean.
dev (Standard deviation): refers to the "spread" or "variation" in the ratings students gave. A large variation (greater than 1) indicates that students have quite different opinions on this item. Normally, you would expect a standard deviation lower than 1.
The demographics of your survey respondents will be shown at the beginning or the end of the survey, as shown below.
This summary indicates the gender and broad language characteristics of the respondents along with the percentage of those for who the unit is elective. These "demographic" factors can have importance when interpreting the report scores.
Individual student comments are listed at the end of the report. Responses to online surveys appear as:
Paper-based surveys will show an image of the hand-written comments:
What does it all mean?
Below are a list of questions to help you make sense of the information you receive.
Have a look at the number of students who have responded with respect to the number who are enrolled and who could have responded. How representative are the views of those who have filled in the survey of those enrolled in the unit? The following table shows the response rate required (as a minimum) for different numbers of students enrolled in a unit:
Number enrolled Minimum response rate required
> 100, 25%
If a reasonable number of respondents responded, then have a look at the mean and standard deviations. The scale is from 5 to 1. The ideal is to get your mean as close as possible to 5, i.e. indicating that most of your students agree or strongly agree with the statements. On the graphs, you should look for taller columns on the left.
If there is a wide range of opinions amongst your students, you will get a mean nearer to 3 and a higher standard deviation (dev.); in other words, some students like it, some don't. Ideally, you would wish for a dev. of less than 1 for your mean to be meaningful (i.e. your students comments are not too polarised).
For example, assuming the distribution of scores is normal or "bell-shaped" (or close to it) if you have a mean of 3.50, and a dev. of 0.52, we can estimate that 68% of your students' responses will fall in the range of (3.50-0.52) and (3.50+0.52) i.e. between 2.98 and 4.02.
You may then need to check the students' qualitative comments to enable you to interpret each issue if the dev. is large. Quite often, the dev. is large for only one item of the questionnaire - this would require you to reflect on what could be contributing to your students' concern in this regard. In addition, if the dev. is high, the median (md) figure may be a more accurate reflection of your students overall response to the question.
Your reflections on the survey results
Now that you have gone to the trouble of administering a student survey, it is worthwhile reflecting on the findings of that survey. Your reflections on the survey results, together with the self-evaluation exercise you carried out at the time of the survey, and insights from the Rating Interpretation Guides will allow you to derive the maximum benefit from the process.
The key to interpreting anything that seems a little unusual in the report is to always check on the students qualitative comments on the particular issue or item.
Do you agree with the students perception? Why or why not? Note down any surprises and confirmations.
If you have made changes since the last time this unit/ your teaching has been evaluated, then think about: What has worked? What has not worked the way you anticipated?