Subject: Surveys of the Student Experience of Courses
Group: Institutional
Approved by: Senate
Approval date: 22 September 2009
Effective date: 22 September 2009
Revised: 13 February 2018; 14 March 2012
Administered by: Provost and Vice-President, Academic & Research

1 — INTRODUCTION

Mount Allison University is committed to excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning. To that end, the university supports the development and implementation of a system of student surveys that

  • a) reflects and supports both individual teaching styles and disciplinary standards; and
  • b) encourages reflection on information pertaining to teaching and learning that arise from a number of sources: surveys of students related to their experience of courses and instruction, peer review, and continuous self-assessment.

 While making reference to other sources of feedback, this policy will focus on surveys of the student experience of courses.


2 — GOALS  
 The goals of this policy are the following:

  • a) To articulate the underlying principles of course surveys as a means of encouraging reflective teaching at Mount Allison,  
  • b) To establish a set of survey questions for Mount Allison University that includes both standardized questions and optional additions (See Appendix A);
  • c) To establish practices to be used in surveys of student conducted under this policy (See Appendix B); and
  • d) To outline and describe the roles of those who are responsible for the conduct and administration of this policy. These include students, professors, and university administrators.

3 — DEFINITION OF TERMS

Evaluation involves personnel decisions such as hiring, tenure and promotion, and decisions on teaching awards. Evaluation processes for personnel decisions are set out in the Collective Agreements between the University and the Mount Allison Faculty Association.

 
Summative Assessment aims to inform evaluative processes.

Formative Assessment aims to inform teaching practice or enhance its quality.

Sources for Assessment: information for assessment may come from a variety of sources, including students, peers, and professors themselves.
 
4 — GUIDING PRINCIPLES FOR STUDENT EVALUATION OF TEACHING

Ordinarily, all students registered in every course at Mount Allison (including correspondence and spring session courses) should be given the opportunity to participate in a survey each time  it is taught. The following principles will inform the conduct of the surveys:
 
a) Assessment of courses and teaching at Mount Allison University will be based on information collected over time from a variety of sources. 

b) Assessment of courses and teaching at Mount Allison may serve formative purposes, to provide individual faculty members with the information they require to monitor, maintain, and develop the quality and effectiveness of their teaching and their courses.

c) Results from surveys of students related to their experience of courses and instruction may have summative applications; information gathered from such surveys may be used in hiring, promoting, granting tenure, and adjudicating teaching awards.

d) Assessment of courses and teaching is multi-faceted, and student survey results ratings are but one part; they should be complemented by peer review, ongoing self-assessment, and reflection.

e) Evaluation and assessment procedures at Mount Allison will be conducted in accordance with the Collective Agreements between the University and the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA).

f) Student survey procedures at Mount Allison will protect student anonymity and confidentiality: students will not be required to provide their signature, name, or student number.

g) The integrity of the survey and assessment process must be ensured and the needs of the various stakeholders supported; therefore, practices for the conduct of the surveys and the interpretation of he results are here hereby set forth by Senate in Appendix A and Appendix B. These practices will be reviewed by senate at regular intervals. 

h) To ensure a productive learning environment, individual faculty members are also encouraged to gather formative feedback during their courses, using methods and sources of their own choice.
 
5 — IMPLEMENTATION

The Survey Form  
Usually, students registered in every course at Mount Allison University will be provided the opportunity to participate in a survey each time the course is taught, typically  using the standard Mount Allison Survey Form (See Appendix A), which will contain a statement of the purpose of the survey and:

  1. Core questions that will appear on every form;
  2. Optional customized questions, chosen or created by the individual professor to reflect the specific teaching and learning goals or context of the course and
  3. Open-ended questions, which elicit written (paper form) or typed (on-line) responses, and questions about student characteristics deemed relevant to the survey.

Survey Procedure
The survey of students under this Policy will take place at a time and date deemed appropriate by the instructor, ordinarily within the last two weeks of class (See Appendix B).
 
Special Circumstances
While every course at Mount Allison must have a survey, the standard university survey form may not be appropriate for courses which involve a small number of students or individual or independent study (e.g., research projects, studio or music courses). In these special circumstances, other means should be provided to make possible student feedback, according to departmental or disciplinary custom.
 
Dissemination of Data
Only after final grades have been submitted will student survey results from a a course be made available to the instructor of that course. Student survey results will not be distributed to anyone other than the instructor without the permission of the instructor.

6 — RESPONSIBILITIES

a) The Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic and Research, is responsible for the administration of this policy; and

b) The Purdy Crawford Teaching Centre will provide:

  • i) information about teaching portfolios, and teaching enhancement; and
  • ii) confidential services to support individual professors in their on-going work to maintain the quality of teaching and learning at the university.

 
APPENDIX A: MOUNT ALLISON STUDENT SURVEY FORM
APPENDIX B: PRACTICES FOR STUDENT SURVEYS OF COURSES AT MOUNT ALLISON UNIVERSITY