Evaluating learning and teaching quality

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Evaluating learning and teaching quality

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The University is committed to collecting and responding to student feedback on the quality of teaching and courses with the ultimate aim of improving staff development in the scholarship of teaching and improving student learning experiences and outcomes.

These commitments are embodied in the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC) Academic Policy and Procedures.

The SETAC process

The Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC)  process has two parts:

The Teaching evaluation part is designed to: 

  1. provide students with the opportunity to comment on their satisfaction with key elements of teaching;
  2. provide evaluation data to allow the teaching staff member to engage in a scholarly process of critical reflection, interpretation and implementation of improvements to the teaching of the course;
  3. enable the collection of feedback on a core set of elements of teaching that may be used for intra-university comparison and inter-university benchmarking;
  4. allow teaching staff to ask questions about additional area(s) of particular interest, such as: an area where they need more information than that provided by the core set of questions alone; or specific features of teaching. In this way the instrument can be sensitive to individual evaluation needs and specific teaching contexts; and
  5. provide teaching staff with qualitative comments. Individual comments should assist in the understanding of the quantitative results received by providing reinforcing or diagnostic feedback on aspects not necessarily covered by the instrument’s items.

The Course evaluation part is designed to:

  1. provide students with the opportunity to comment on their satisfaction with key elements of a course;
  2. provide evaluation data to allow the course coordinator to engage in a scholarly process of critical reflection, interpretation and implementation of improvement to the teaching of the course and the course itself;
  3. enable the collection of feedback on a core set of elements of a course that may be used for intra-university comparison and inter-university benchmarking;
  4. allow Course Coordinators to ask questions about additional areas of interest, such as, an area where they need more information than that provided by the core set of questions alone; or specific features of a course. In this way the questionnaire can be sensitive to specific evaluation needs and course contexts; and
  5. provide Course Coordinators with qualitative comments. Individual comments should assist in understanding the quantitative responses received by providing reinforcing or diagnostic feedback on aspects not necessarily covered by the instrument’s items.

Frequency and timing of SETAC surveys

Teaching staff (with the exception of guest lecturers and staff whose role is limited to practical demonstrating) are required to conduct teaching evaluations at least once a year. In the case of new teaching staff, evaluations are to be conducted in their first teaching period.

Course Coordinators are required to initiate the conduct of course evaluations at least once in each year the course is offered in the major teaching period in which the course is offered. In the case of a new course, evaluations are to be conducted in the first teaching period that the course is offered.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Executive Dean, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), Head of School or supervisor of a Course Coordinator a Course Coordinator or a teacher may request that a relevant SETAC survey be undertaken in addition to these required timings.

The main SETAC evaluation period is initiated two weeks prior to the end of the teaching period, as identified in the University’s Academic Calendar, and closes one week after the conclusion of the teaching period’s examination period (where relevant) or one week after the conclusion of the teaching period (where no examination period is specified). This time frame enables students to reflect on the full teaching/course experience. The Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses schedule is also available at Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC).

Resources to support teaching academics to reflect on SETAC data

* Morgan, P., The Course Improvement Flowchart: A description of a tool and process for the evaluation of university teaching, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 5(2), 2008. Available at: http://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol5/iss2/2

More information for teaching academics

Assistance and training in implementing SETAC surveys is available from the Strategic Information and Analysis Unit by email studentfeedback@usc.edu.au or telephone +61 7 5459 4757.

Refer to the Student Evaluation of Teaching and Courses (SETAC) Academic Policy and Procedures.

Assistance in using and interpreting your SETAC survey reports and aggregated data is available from the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching (C-SALT) by email academicdevelopment@usc.edu.au or telephone +61 7 5456 5126.

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