Student Feedback and Evaluation

The University constantly reviews the structure of its degrees, the content of its modules and the application of its rules and regulations. It does this to improve the provision it offers to students. Comments of the External Examiners, which are received on an annual basis, are the main focus of such reviews but as important are the views of students.

In accordance with the Student Representation and Engagement Strategy, students are invited to feed back on their academic experiences at Swansea in a variety of ways:

  • At Modular level – through the Student Module Feedback system (feeding into Annual Module Review).
  • At Programme level – through the Quality Review Process.
  • At College/School level – primarily through the a student-staff committee or forum at which the views and concerns of students are heard in a more formal setting. Also through membership of the Board of Studies and College/School Learning and Teaching Committee.
  • At University level – student representatives serve on all University committees and are invited to raise issues on behalf of students.

Feedback is sought from all students through annual student surveys conducted by the University, providing a further opportunity for student feedback and ensuring that this is facilitated at all years of study. Institutionally, student feedback is monitored by the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.

  • The Student Experience Survey (SES) for students in Years one and two of Undergraduate Degree programmes.
  • The National Student Survey (NSS) for final year undergraduate students.
  • The Postgraduate Taught Student Experience Survey (PGTSES) for students pursuing Taught Postgraduate programmes.
  • The Postgraduate Research Student Experience Survey (PGRSES) for students pursuing Postgraduate Research programmes.

The University will ensure the following :

  • All Colleges/Schools and Professional Services are required to obtain feedback from their client base to assure the standards and enhance the quality of provision. Academic Colleges/Schools will receive students’ feedback of academic provision at module level via the Student Module Feedback system. Similarly, Professional Services whose client base includes students should also undertake feedback of their services.
  • The mechanisms used by the institution to obtain student feedback should be open and transparent, with students advised of the results and intended responses to issues of concern.
  • The Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee shall review the outcomes of student surveys and the associated action plans produced in response to these outcomes.
  • The Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee will consider the results of the Student Experience Survey, the National Student Survey, the Postgraduate Taught Student Experience Survey, and, along with the Postgraduate Research Committee, the Postgraduate Research Student Experience Survey (and any other student satisfaction surveys).

Results at subject/programme level shall be referred to the College/School concerned for consideration. Specific matters for concern shall be referred to appropriate individuals or committees. Colleges/Schools are required to update their student experience action plans, which will be monitored by the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.

Module Feedback

The University has introduced a central system for student feedback of modules. This system offers Module Coordinators the ability to undertake an electronic -based feedback[1], which is processed centrally and fed back to Colleges/Schools. Feedback is obtained for all modules delivered in each semester. The process usually assesses modules mid way through delivery and at the end of teaching.

The system is based around a standard module feedback questionnaire benchmarked to the National Student Survey question set and agreed by the University Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee, following extensive consultation with the Students’ Union and the University and College Union at Swansea.

Following completion of the survey period, all Module Co-ordinators and lecturers will receive a module feedback report. These reports are used to improve teaching, learning and assessment by identifying areas of good practice and highlighting aspects requiring review or improvement.

Student module feedback results also form part of the Annual Module Review process. Colleges/Schools will be required to share the results of feedback and their response with students in an appropriate form, preserving the anonymity of staff and students where necessary.


What is Student Feedback Data Used For?

The principal purpose for collecting this data is to reflect on the quality of the student experience, and to use this information to make improvements which will further enhance the student experience.

The quantitative data generated from all student feedback mechanisms should be used throughout the Quality Review process, and other forms of quality assurance and enhancement activities designed to enhance the quality of teaching, learning and the student experience.

Qualitative comments may only be used or distributed within the University if personal/identifiable information is redacted in order to protect staff. Qualitative comments for modules meeting certain threshold scores will be reviewed by limited staff members in the Academic Services for the purposes of identifying good and noteworthy practice for quality enhancement purposes.

Data from Module Feedback is included in the University’s Performance Enabling process. For further information about this, please contact the Director of Human Resources.


Distribution of Quantitative Data

Quantitative data which does not have personal identifiers (i.e. at programme, subject or College/School level) will be distributed as appropriate including national/sector benchmarking information. This information will be discussed at University, College/School, Subject and Programme level meetings to enable the enhancement of academic provision.

The distribution of quantitative data which has personal identifiers in (for instance linked to a module leader or lecturer) will be restricted to those who need to use this information. This is only relevant in regard to module feedback which is discussed in more detail below.


Distribution of Qualitative Data

Qualitative data in the form of student free text comments is collected during all feedback processes, and is often the most valuable form of feedback as it allows students to provide more detailed information on key areas which matter to them. However, the university recognises that all comments of this nature can be affected by bias, therefore comments are provided for information only. Students are required to behave professionally and provide constructive criticism where appropriate, and are not expected to include any unprofessional or potentially slanderous comments.

Qualitative data arising from subject or programme level surveys is available to all staff. Qualitative data arising from module feedback has a more restricted distribution and this is discussed in more detail below.

Module Coordinators receive the full Student Module Feedback report consisting of a minimum of 3 sections; core questions about the module, questions related to the lecturer(s) and responses to qualitative comments.

Each lecturer will receive the core section and their own lecturer section.

The Head of College/School and College/School Director of Learning and Teaching will receive the full Student module feedback reports for all staff in the College/School. These will be shared with programme directors as appropriate.

Summary reports giving an overview on the core questions about the module for all modules compared with the subject area, College/School or university average are produced and circulated to the Head of College/School and Director of Learning and Teaching. The Module Co-ordinators’ names are listed on these reports.

The University will limit the distribution of these free text comments from module feedback. Free text comments will only be distributed to the appropriate Module Coordinator(s), Head of College/School and Director of Learning and Teaching. Module Coordinators will produce a summary version of the comments for wider distribution for students and others teaching on the module removing any identifiable information or inappropriate comments.

This qualitative information should be treated as confidential, and should not be shared more widely without individual consent or redaction of personal or identifiable information. Students are informed that they should not make defamatory or rude comments and that we will take any necessary actions against students found to be doing this. However, comments are not reviewed prior to distribution and if you have any concerns about comments made in module feedback these should be discussed with the Director of Learning and Teaching/Head of College/School in the first instance. If, after discussion it is felt that students have made comments which contravene the warnings given, then this should be brought to the attention of the Director of Academic Services who will consider what further action may need to be taken.


Student Surveys

Including the Student Experience Survey, National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Student Experience Survey and Postgraduate Research Student Experience Survey, along with any related surveys which may be undertaken.

Qualitative data collected from Student Surveys operated by the University will be reviewed by the University and any comments which are identifiable or potentially identifiable will be redacted from negative comments. Names and other identifiable data will be retained within positive comments, unless there are negative comparisons made within this. Redaction of this information does not imply that the University endorses the information received, and the opinions included remain those of the students returning the comment. In addition, Ipsos MORI will redact all identifiable data from the National Student Survey, and the University do not have access to the unredacted data at any point. This data will be made available to all members of the College for information.

A copy of the unredacted comments from each survey (with the exception of the NSS) will be sent to the Head of College/School and Director of Learning and Teaching for review.

As with the results of module review, the College/School/subject area may wish to examine the data from student surveys for both areas requiring enhancement and practices worthy of dissemination.


Reviewing the Data

It is the responsibility of the module leader to provide a summary of the free text comments for wider distribution for students and others teaching on the module removing any identifiable information or inappropriate comments or the full comments if there is no defamatory or personal information therein. The comments should be considered in conjunction with the quantitative data and used in the Annual Module Review process.

Summary Reports of the core questions should be used for discussion at College/School Learning and Teaching Committees and/or Boards of Studies and in the review of Modules and Annual Programme review alongside a summary of comments produced by the module leader. A spreadsheet showing response rates for each module is also produced which should be reviewed carefully as small numbers of respondents can give statistically unreliable results. If there are concerns about response rates, consideration to other forms of student feedback should be given including staff student consultative committees, NSS results and qualitative comments from students.

Please note that Summary Reports do not show how many students or what proportion of those on the module completed module feedback so this should be checked on the actual module report or the excel spreadsheet before considering further action.

The College/School/subject area may wish to examine the data for both issues requiring enhancement and practices worthy of dissemination. For example, the College/School may wish to identify modules that are falling significantly below or above a College/School average and then consult the qualitative comments to determine what generic issues need to be addressed or are worthy of dissemination. The specific process will be for the College/School to decide, but you must keep the qualitative comments confidential.


Using Module Feedback Information to Enhance the Student Experience

In order to identify and share good practice, information from module feedback reports included in the Annual Module Review process will be used by Academic Quality Services to share good practice with the wider academic community. Academic Quality Services staff will respect the confidential nature of this information as set out in the section on use of Distribution of Qualitative Data.

The current software used enables either paper or electronic based feedback to be obtained. The University currently uses electronic methods.


 

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