Review of student feedback

2017 Review of Student Feedback at UCC

PROJECT TITLE: Connecting, Listening and Enhancing: placing student perceptions of their educational experience at the heart of decision making at UCC

PROJECT SPONSORS: The Office of the Vice President for Teaching and Learning, together with the Student Experience Office and the Quality Promotion Unit

PROJECT START DATE: 1st February 2017

PROJECT AIM: The aim of this project is to ensure that student surveys are coherent and meet all the needs in the feedback landscape

At UCC the views of students are central to improving teaching, research and student services and to the quality review process. Student surveys are an important tool for students to provide feedback on university experiences, educational quality, institutional effectiveness and student satisfaction, and play an important role in the involvement of students in university management and governance at UCC. However, the number of student surveys at UCC has increased dramatically in recent years and lack of over-arching coordination of student surveys during this expansion has led to a number of issues for both students and staff. These include:

  • Over-surveying of some student groups creating confusion and frustration
  • Survey fatigue causing students to become disengaged
  • Reduced survey response rates compromising data quality
  • Duplication of effort
  • Limited evidence of closing the loop
  • Concern over tools employed and ethics
  • Lack of oversight and of clarity around roles and responsibilities 

This project will conduct a review of student surveys at UCC, including the Student Experience Survey, the Irish Survey of Student Engagement, individual Module Surveys and surveys related to quality reviews of academic and support departments. This review will consider the policy context; governance; survey tools; data storage and dissemination; closing the loop; and associated resources. It will identify international best practice and will develop a set of recommendations aimed at enhancing the governance of student surveys at UCC to support long-term change in this area to ensure a coordinated approach to surveying student opinion. It will inform the development of an institutional policy on student surveys aimed at minimising duplication of effort and survey fatigue and enhancing the effectiveness of student involvement and engagement.

This review included: a mapping of existing student surveys at UCC; national and international benchmarking exercises; a review of relevant literature; and internal and external consultations. The review and the recommendations arising from it are central to UCC’s commitment to improve the teaching and learning experience for all students by enhancing student assessment, feedback and survey processes. It is also aligned with the recommendation by the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030 that every higher education institution should put in place a comprehensive anonymous student feedback system to inform institutional and programme/course development, as well as national policy.

In order to address the current lack of a university strategy with respect to management of student surveys this review recommends that UCC creates and maintains a number of specially constituted groups with responsibility for student surveying activity. These are:

  • A University Student Surveys Board, responsible for the development and implementation of UCC’s student survey strategy across all organisational levels.
  • A University Student Surveys Support Unit, responsible for the management and co-ordination of student surveys and for the appropriate dissemination and utilisation of survey data.
  • A Student Surveys Ethics Committee, responsible for the ethical assessment of student survey requests.

Student surveys are just one component of student feedback, and other forms of feedback and of the student voice in university governance. All other forms of feedback are outside the scope of the current project. Student surveys instigated by external parties also lie outside the scope. 

Review of Student Surveys at UCC 2017 (1,046kB)

Office of the VP for Teaching and Learning

East Wing, Main Quadrangle, UCC