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One of the most sensible ways of improving learning and teaching is to ask the students for feedback. At the end of each teaching period (i.e. semester or term) all universities and many schools survey their students. Usually these surveys are managed online. Questions ask for student perceptions about teaching, assessment and workload. The survey administrators report four common problems. First, response rates are low. This means that valid and reliable conclusions cannot be drawn from the data. Second, students seldom take the time to write comments. It is comments that provide the necessary substance for meaningful change. Third, the questions are usually focussed on teaching and teachers rather than learners and the learning experience. As a result, student evaluation is usually applied only to teachers’ annual reviews rather than to quality improvement of education. Fourth, and as a consequence of the first three concerns, student evaluation rarely results in closing-the-loop. Closing-the loop means that action is taken, the student feedback is applied to make meaningful changes and these improvements are clearly reported back to the students. This article reports what Bond University did to resolve these four problems of response rates, student comments, question content and application to reported quality improvement.
This document has been peer reviewed.