1. Aims

1.1. The aim of Student Module Feedback is to help staff and students understand and enhance the student academic experience on a module,  by working in partnership to  identify strengths and changes to be introduced during and after the delivery of a module.

1.2. It should prompt both students and staff to reflect on their experience of a module and their role and contributions, and to provide constructive, respectful feedback through honest and open dialogue.

2. Guiding principles

2.1. Student Module Feedback should be a process rather than the result of a single output or opportunity to provide feedback.  It starts with the sharing of module expectations and aims, followed by formal and informal opportunities throughout the module to capture student reflections on their experience of a module, and ensures students are aware of how their feedback has been considered.

2.2. Recognise that Student Module Feedback serves different purposes, including  its  role  in the  expression of the student voice, in demonstrating our  commitment to improving the student academic experience, as part of quality  assurance mechanisms, and in the development of our educators.

2.3. Student Module Feedback should complement other formal and informal forms of student feedback and representation (e.g. NSS, UKES, Student Voice Groups, student representatives).

2.4. All students should have the opportunity to provide feedback and students should be able to offer feedback at any point during the module (encouraging ‘anytime’ feedback).

2.5. Staff should clarify early in the module what type of feedback is sought, which areas of a module it is possible to change in light of feedback, and whether, and why, there are any aspects  of  a  module that  student  feedback cannot influence  (for  example  due  to professional body requirements).

2.6. Responsibility for pedagogic decisions rests with academic staff, informed by student feedback on their learning experience.

2.7. Constructive feedback and dialogue between students and staff should be welcomed.

2.8. When seeking, interpreting, considering and acting on feedback, issues of bias should be mitigated against to the extent that this is possible.

2.9. Student Module Feedback should be used as a prompt for staff reflection, development and support.

2.10. Given the associated well-evidenced bias, when used for the purpose of career progression, student module feedback will be used in line with the principles for the Responsible Use of Education Metrics.

2.11. Student Module Feedback should be used to identify areas of good and innovative practice that could be shared across the institution as appropriate.

 

 

3. Timings of Student Module Feedback (formerly SAMT)

 3.1.  Feedback from students should actively be sought at least twice within a module, only one of which must be formal. Departments are required to issue a survey at the end of the module which is formally recorded, but may also include qualitative means of collecting feedback (for example informal classroom conversations, focus groups and/or online forums).

3.2. Student module feedback should be collected via feedback methods and timing to suit the module, subject, department, audience, group size and duration of the module

3.3. All registered students should have the opportunity to respond to the survey and students should be able to offer feedback at any point during the module. Departments should ensure accessible opportunities are provided for students to feedback both remotely and in person.

3.4. Departments should select an appropriate time to undertake the survey at the end of a module (for example, within the window of weeks 8-11 for a ten week module) with the option also to formally evaluate at the end of the first term for full year modules

 

4. Method of issuing formal survey

4.1. There is a central questionnaire (.docx) that all modules should use for the formal end of module survey.

4.2. This questionnaire contains 14 core questions and there is a pool of additional questions that the teaching team can use to gain more specific information.

4.3. Questions can be added at the discretion of the Deputy Dean (Education) in liaison with Quality and Academic Development, and on recommendation by the Head of Department; however, the maximum number of questions on a survey is 20 (not including repetition of questions one to five).

4.4.  Student module feedback should include all teaching delivered on a module. Modules taught by Graduate Teaching Assistants are included in student module feedback.

4.5 The formal end of module survey should be administered using EvaSys. Access to EvaSys can be requested by emailing the Quality and Academic Development team at module.evaluation@essex.ac.uk. Administrators responsible for student module feedback should familiarise themselves with the EvaSys user guide

 

5. Sharing and communicating feedback and subsequent actions

5.1. Student feedback should be considered holistically in relation to other forms of feedback at course and module level, including NSS, UKES, Student Voice Groups and student representatives.

5.2. Student module feedback generates raw and processed data and different levels of confidentiality apply to these forms of data.  The Head of Department should ensure teaching staff are aware of how the data will be reviewed and shared.

5.3. Responses to the formal end of module survey will be anonymous and results will be treated confidentially.  Raw student feedback (the original comments made by individual students) and data should not be shared with students (current or prospective).

5.4. Student module feedback questionnaires include questions about the quality of the module, teaching, assessment and feedback. Particular attention should be given to maintaining the confidentiality of data relating to the quality of teaching by individuals.

5.5. Sharing of student feedback should be carried out at modular level within a module teaching team, and at departmental level with the Head of Department and Director of Education. Careful consideration should be given to sharing data more widely, for example where Departmental structures mean additional members of staff are responsible for reviewing student feedback.

5.6. Processed results should be discussed at a Departmental meeting to look at themes and trends and to consider any changes that might be appropriate in the light of the survey outcomes. Student module feedback should be used to identify areas of good and innovative practice that could be shared across the institution as appropriate.

5.7. The Student Voice Group should receive a summary report on the student module feedback.  This should inform students of actions resulting from each individual module survey and include an explanation where no action is taken. After discussion at Student Voice Groups, the summary report should be accessible to all students.

5.8. The Head of Department must ensure that the outcomes of student module feedback are considered as part of Annual Review of Courses (ARC) reports. ARC reports should be formulated so there is no need for them to be confidential and should be disseminated in a timeframe which aligns with sharing via Student Voice Groups and through department and Faculty Committees.

5.9. All students should be informed of the outcomes of the previous student module feedback results. Module Coordinators should inform students at the start of teaching of any changes to the structure, content and/or assessment of the module made as a result of the previous year's student module feedback. 

5.10. Any central analysis of trends or comparisons across the University is used as lead indicators, not a measure of individual staff performance (data will be collected at the module level). As agreed in the Responsible Use of Education Metrics, feedback provided on individual educators would always be considered within a qualitative and holistic assessment of their activities, and metrics relating to the performance of individuals, modules, courses, or departments would be used in conjunction with relevant qualitative data, expert judgements and expert assessment of the context in which the data sit.

6. Monitoring and review

6.1. The primary responsibility for ensuring that department-based student module feedback is being carried out in accordance with Senate policy rests with Heads of Department or other teaching units.

6.2. Faculty Education Committees will receive reports on the annual student module feedback exercise as part of its review of Annual Review of Courses reports. Themes raised through the ARC reports are fed into the wider University Committee structure, with overviews provided to the Academic Quality and Standards Committee and Education Committee. 

6.3. Reports on overall satisfaction at a module level will be received and reviewed by Education Data Insight Action Group (E-DIAG).

6.4. The questionnaire is reviewed annually to consider the optional questions used by departments in order to remove unused questions and include new questions relating to new modes of study.

6.5. The Policy is reviewed biennially by Education Committee to ensure it remains fit for purpose and continues to meet effectively the needs of Departments and the University.

 

Current policy approved by Senate July 2020.

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Student assessment of modules and teaching