Concerns and recommendations on the use of student satisfaction in measuring teaching quality

Universities as well as, in some cases, legislative authorities are increasingly looking for ways to evaluate teaching, be it to enhance the teaching quality or to use it as a funding criterion. In this statement, LERU has set out a number of principles for evaluating the quality of education at universities, in particular with regard to soliciting the students’ voice.

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Collecting feedback from students is very important. However, that feedback should focus on the full teaching-learning environment as well as the students’ own learning processes. Students should not be asked to provide feedback on a specific teacher or a specific course, nor to express ‘satisfaction’. Biased responses, for gender, ethnicity and age, is just one of the well-documented deficiencies student feedback can have if the wrong questions are asked. In addition, it is important to realise that student feedback is influenced by student-related factors such as their personal goals and skills. This should be taken into account when student feedback is analysed.”

There are many factors influencing the quality of university education that go beyond the individual teacher. These include, among others, aspects related to curricula development but also to more practical aspects such as resources and equipment for organising learning-focused teaching. Therefore, an evaluation of university education should not focus on single teachers but on the full-teaching environment and it should cover all levels, namely course, programme and institutional level.

This statement goes beyond identifying problems with student satisfaction surveys. It offers recommendations for collecting student feedback as well as some concrete examples of items to ask student feedback on.

Year of publication:
Dec 2021
Type of paper: