Student Feedback on Learning, Teaching and Curriculum

Student Feedback on Learning, Teaching and Curriculum

SUMMARY

The Student Feedback on Learning, Teaching and Curriculum Policy establishes the principles that underpin Macquarie University's approach to obtaining feedback from students about their experience of learning, teaching and curriculum.

POLICY

Purpose

To articulate the principles that underpin the Macquarie University approach to obtaining feedback from students about their experience of learning, teaching and curriculum.
To provide the basis for the procedures to be used in the collection, analysis, reporting and use of student feedback. The policy and procedures together provide a foundation for embedding student evaluation and feedback processes into a continuous cycle of quality enhancement at individual, unit, program, department, faculty and University levels.
To demonstrate Macquarie University’s commitment to enhancing learning and teaching through student-centred evaluation and feedback practices.

Overview

Macquarie University is committed to providing outstanding learning environments and programs that lead to excellent outcomes for graduates, enabling them to work in, and guide, a world characterised by increasing change.
Macquarie University supports and encourages a learning environment of mutual trust, contributed to by students and academics, which includes rigorous assessment of student performance and evaluation and feedback by students about aspects of their learning environment.
This policy and the associated procedures and guidelines recognise that student views about their experience at Macquarie, their programs of study, units and the teaching within those units and programs are an essential part of the quality enhancement cycle as detailed in the Quality Enhancement Policy:

A student-focused approach whereby students are engaged and student feedback data informs all phases of the Quality Enhancement Cycle.

Student feedback on learning, teaching and curriculum forms a component of a system for quality improvement, quality assurance and reward and recognition of teaching quality. Student feedback contributes to:
  • confirming to students and the community that Macquarie University is committed to the achievement and maintenance of effective teaching and learning;
  • providing a basis for individual and collaborative critical reflection on teaching and curriculum;
  • identifying aspects of teaching and curriculum that are successful examples of effective practice, present opportunities for enhancement or require development;
  • providing evidence to guide review processes and decisions at University, Faculty, Department, Discipline, Program and Unit levels;
  •  informing strategic development of learning and teaching capacity across the University;
  • informing Performance Development and Review (PDR), probation, promotion, reward and recognition schemes and processes;
  • providing evidence for reporting the effectiveness of learning and teaching initiatives and projects; and
  • providing evidence of learning and teaching performance to professional, statutory and regulatory bodies.

Scope

This policy sets out the principles underpinning the University’s approach to obtaining feedback from students on their experience of learning, teaching and curriculum. This approach comprises the following activities:
  • planning, administering and reporting on student surveys, including those currently administered by the Teaching Evaluation for Development Service (TEDS) and Macquarie Analytics (MQA);
  • developing and implementing systematic student evaluation and feedback schedules at individual teacher, unit, department, faculty and University levels;
  • integrating student feedback data and other evaluative information with quality enhancement processes at all levels (formative purposes);
  • where appropriate, using student feedback for summative purposes; and
  • providing students with information about teaching and curriculum enhancements made in response to student evaluation data.
The policy and associated procedures apply to:
  • staff with responsibilities for planning, delivery and/or leadership of learning and teaching in Macquarie University programs, including casual, sessional, fixed-term and contract teaching staff
  • staff with administrative responsibilities relating to learning and teaching in Macquarie University programs
  • all organisational units involved with student experience of learning, teaching and curriculum, who might from time to time wish to seek student feedback about their services
  • staff of the Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC) and MQA.
The policy and associated procedures must be applied in accordance with the University’s obligations under legislative and regulatory requirements and workplace agreements.

Policy

Student feedback will focus on the development and enhancement of student learning and experience, underpinned by the following principles:
  • The primary purpose of collecting student feedback is to enhance the quality of learning, teaching and curriculum. Student feedback may be used for recognition and rewards applications, but these purposes are secondary to quality enhancement.
  • Obtaining student feedback is one component of each Faculty and Department’s systematic learning and teaching evaluation plan, formulated in alignment with the Macquarie University Quality Enhancement Policy and Quality Enhancement Guidelines.
  • Formal student evaluation is considered as one of many sources (such as small group discussions) of information on teaching and curriculum effectiveness and will not be used in isolation.
  • The interpretation of student feedback data must take into account the influence of contextual factors.
  • Student evaluation processes will be undertaken in alignment with published policies, procedures and guidelines and within the Ethical Framework of the University.

STANDARDS AND BENCHMARKING
Academic Senate will determine standards for student feedback on teaching and units. Unit evaluation standards will provide a basis for benchmarking in Unit and Program quality assurance and review processes.

The standards will take into account known contextual factors.

EVALUATION AND REPORTING CYCLE
Each Faculty will plan and establish a cycle of evaluation at Unit, Department and Program levels. This evaluation cycle will obtain, review and report on information about learning, teaching and curriculum. One component of this information is student feedback.

COORDINATION, ADMINISTRATION AND USE OF SURVEYS
To prevent survey fatigue and duplication of information, MQA will maintain a register of all student surveys, although they may be administered locally by an appropriate organisational unit.

INTEGRITY OF STUDENT EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK SYSTEMS
In accordance with Principle 1, student feedback should above all inform the development and enhancement of learning, teaching and the student experience. This requires a high level of trust in the systems used to obtain, analyse, store and report on the data collected. Data integrity must be maintained by developing systematic approaches to collection and management at all levels in the University.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND ANONYMITY OF RESPONDENTS
Reporting process must not identify any individual student survey respondent unless the latter’s permission is explicitly sought and granted. Respondents must be informed of the uses that may be made of the data, including the level of aggregation used in analysis and reporting of results and the possible use of de-identified quotes in staff teaching portfolios, applications for promotion, probation and rewards and information provided to prospective students.

EVALUATION OF TEACHING, UNIT AND PROGRAM
While the University recognises the importance of obtaining student feedback in standard forms (i.e. surveys), it also appreciates the limitations of such standardised approaches. Therefore the evaluation of teaching and curriculum should encompass a broader range of feedback mechanisms.

When evaluating and reviewing curriculum and teaching practices, staff with learning and teaching responsibilities (including the planning, administration and leadership of learning and teaching activities) are expected to consider diverse sources of information, as well as the context in which the activities under review were undertaken.

NOTE: Results from Learner Experience of Teaching (LET) surveys on their own provide insufficient information about teaching quality and must not be used as the sole determinant of judgments about an individual’s teaching performance.

REPORTING STUDENT SURVEY RESULTS
Student survey results may be aggregated at different levels, including individual, unit, discipline, department, faculty, program and University. The appropriate level of aggregation for reporting of student survey results depends on the specific purpose(s) of the particular instrument used. Details of reporting frameworks and appropriate levels of aggregation for survey instruments administered by TEDS and the MQA are provided in the accompanying Procedures and Guidelines.

FEEDBACK TO STUDENTS
It is important for faculties, departments and individual teachers to demonstrate the University’s commitment to learning, teaching and curriculum enhancement by informing students about changes made in response to feedback from previous students. This also serves to build student awareness of, and constructive engagement with, student feedback mechanisms. Summary information on previous student feedback and changes made in response to this feedback will be included in Unit Guides.

Policy Information

Contact OfficerDirector, Learning and Teaching Centre
Date Approved30 March 2010
Approval AuthorityAcademic Senate
Date of Commencement1 June 2010
Amendment HistoryAugust 2016 - Following introduction of new Assessment Policy, replacement of link from the old to the new Assessment Policy in Key Related documents
August 2011 – Date for Next Review extended
Date for Next ReviewMarch 2013
Related DocumentsAssessment Policy
Evaluation of Teaching Procedure
Evaluation of Unit and Program Procedure
Macquarie University Strategic Directions
Quality Enhancement Policy / Guideline
Reviews Procedure
Teaching Evaluation for Development Service (TEDS) Procedure
Unit Guide Policy / Procedure
Policies / Rules Superseded by this PolicyTEDS policy (Learning and Teaching Centre)
KeywordsStudent Evaluation, Learning and Teaching, Student Surveys, Quality Enhancement.
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