Student survey cycle
Do you need a survey?
Survey fatigue can be genuine issue for students when obtaining meaningful feedback. You should order a survey when you are required by the department/faculty evaluation cycle. Thnak about:
Which survey do you need?
Which questions will you include?
Timing is crucial
Don't leave ordering until last minute. Surveys will not be processed within 21 days of when you want the survey to be administered.
Tell your students about the survey at the beginning of the study period, again the week before it will be administered, and, for online surveys, again when the survey has been activated.
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
Survey Ordering Cycle
The survey ordering cycle begins when you decide that you require a student evaluation of unit or student evaluation of teaching survey, and ends when you complete a summary of your reflections on the survey results. The surveys are designed to inform your reflection on the unit or on your teaching practice; they are not ends in themselves.
Select a survey delivery date and Order
Please remember that TEDS requires 21 days-notice to be able to guarantee delivery on the date you request. You should order for a date a few days prior to the date on which you will administer the survey. Orders with notice less than 21 days are not necessarily processed. All surveys must be complete by the last day of teaching.
You can choose to administer your survey as early as week 8 in the case of teaching surveys (LETs), but usually in weeks 10 through 13. Unit surveys (LEUs) should be run towards the end of the study period when the students have had an opportunity to experience the bulk of the unit. Also, take student behaviour into account when selecting a survey date – try and pick a date when the most students will be on campus.
Allow enough in-class time for the survey to be administered; 15 to 20 minutes is required. If you are administering your LEU survey through your tutorials, let your tutors know early in the study period that a survey will be conducted and they should allow time for it.”
Once you submit your order, be sure to check that you receive a confirmation email – and the details are correct.
Getting a valid response rate to an online survey can be difficult. You will greatly improve your chances if you
- advise your students early in the study period that a survey is coming and that you value their input.
- plan for and allow 15 to 20 minutes, in a specific class, for the students to complete the survey in-class at the start of the class. This is the most to effective action you can take to improve rates.
- remind the student in the week prior to the survey start date that the survey is happening.
- on start day, remind the students to check their MQ email account for the link to the questionnaire.
- The surveys usually remain active for two weeks - TEDS will advise you a week before the survey end-date if the response rate is considered too low. You can check the response rate at any time via the survey link block on the right hand side of your iLearn page.
You will be emailed a blank self-evaluation form which should be completed at the same time as the students are completing the survey and retained in your portfolio.
Student feedback surveys are subjective and qualitative and, as with any qualitative research, the validity and reliability of the results can be improved by a process of triangulation. In the case of student surveys at Macquarie, there are two instruments you can use to triangulate to the student responses - this self-evaluation copy of the survey core questions, completed at around the time the students are completing their questionnaires, and a self-reflection exercise carried out after you receive the survey report.
Links to the self-reflection work sheets are included in the covering email sent with your survey report and you can also find them on the Resources Page.
Receive report and close the loop
Now that you have gone to the trouble of administering a student survey, and the students have taken the time to provide you with their feedback, it makes practical sense to get the most out of the effort.
You should let students in following classes know if you made any changes as a result of earlier feedback from students – you can do this verbally but should also note changes in the unit guide if appropriate.
Students are more likely to respond to surveys if they believe their input and comments will be noted.
Survey types and questions
|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 at least one per study period. If you have a teaching load, the EBA requires you to complete one valid teaching survey per year. 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.|
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).|
Rather than select individual questions, you can choose a group of 5 questions, pre-selected by TEDS, focusing on aspects of teaching.
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?