Student lens: Review through student feedback

Universities, as with many organisations, are required to pay increasing attention to stakeholder needs, which include the needs and expectations of students. Completing surveys and questionnaires in order to evaluate what is going on in our classrooms, our teaching practice and how we can improve university courses is imperative in creating a marketable organisation that is in tune with stakeholder expectations. Gathering student feedback is a process that is helpful because it is important to find out what our students think of our teaching, the university and the courses being offered so that we can continually improve.

Student evaluation and feedback surveys can fulfil a number of purposes such as:

  • Evaluate the teaching practices of individual teaching staff
  • Provide feedback for teaching practices of individual teaching staff
  • Form part of a performance management process
  • Evaluate the design and delivery of course content
  • Provide feedback on the design and delivery of course content
  • Provide useful information for prospective and current students on courses
  • A measurement in order to judge the quality of courses and/or programs

Utilising student evaluation and feedback on individual staff teaching practices are not always welcome. Whilst positive reports and comments are easy to accept, receiving negative or criticisms are often met with distain and readily dismissed as coming from vexatious students. Separating the personal self from the professional self is skill that takes time to develop through the likes of reflective practice, peer support and mentorship.

University policy

Student evaluation of teaching is central to the achievement of the University's mission, values and goals. The University will continually strive to create a work environment that attracts, develops and supports outstanding and committed academic employees who add value to a learning and teaching organisation. Student evaluation of teaching will be used predominantly in a formative way as part of the Performance Review and Development Program, and may be used in this way for other developmental activities. Student evaluation processes, however, may be used in a summative way where the performance of an employee is being reviewed, such as under the probation process, the academic promotions policy or pursuant to disciplinary or performance procedures.  

University policies

Further information and resources

  • Nair, C. S., Adams, P., & Mertova, P. (2008). "Student Engagement: The key to improving survey response rates", Quality in Higher Education, 14(3), pp. 225-232