Course evaluations will be strengthened
Last Thursday, we discussed our memo on course evaluations in the University Council. Evaluations are too often a monologue, where students give feedback but do not hear back what is done with it. Students therefore feel that their feedback isn’t taken seriously and do not fill in the evaluations. This results in the evaluations painting an incomplete picture of the quality of education. This problem isn’t exclusively ours: research from the Education Ministry shows that the lack of feedback is a problem at all Dutch universities.
We therefore submitted a memo dealing with the issue in January. By letting teachers give concrete feedback on the evaluation results to students that are enrolled in their course, students will more easily notice that their feedback is taken seriously. Furthermore, evaluations alone aren’t sufficient to give a good overview of the quality of education. We therefore pleaded for combining different evaluation methods. Moreover, we want more attention to be paid to the programme as a whole. Only when good courses form a coherent programme, students can rely on a valuable diploma that helps them achieve their dreams.
First steps taken
The Board of Directors supported our findings in the council. They will work on feedback on evaluation outcomes during the current review of the quality assurance protocol. This protocol details how every programme monitors its education and improves it where needed. Therefore, it is the perfect place to lay down a feedback procedure. A number of practical matters like the timing of evaluations are also looked at during the review.
Regarding the combination of evaluation methods, the programme committees play an important role: they have the right of consent on how the programme is evaluated since last September. That is why as a result of our memo extra information is being added to the Handbook for PCs and the related training on evaluation methods. The PCs can choose whatever fits their programme best and make it a part of the Teaching and Examination Regulations.
We are happy with the support from the Board for our proposals. We realize that these changes can’t be made overnight and will keep an eye on all upcoming changes. In the long run, these changes will help to secure the quality of education at the UG even further.