Enhancement and Evaluation of Teaching and Courses Policy and Procedures

Application

This document applies to all students and staff members of the University.

Purpose

To support the University’s goal to develop and maintain a high-quality learning environment by providing a framework for the evaluation and quality assurance of learning and teaching at the level of the course.

Policy

Principles

1. Students will have the opportunity to provide feedback about their experiences in their courses and in turn receive feedback from teachers.

2. As part of academic staff development and for quality assurance purposes teachers will use multiple methods of evaluation to reflect on and enhance their teaching and provide evidence of teaching capability and excellence.

3. Course and teaching evaluation evidence collected by the University will form one part of the evidence used to demonstrate course quality or teaching capability.

4. Regular end-of-course reviews will contribute to the ongoing management and quality assurance of courses offered.

5. Course pass rates will be monitored regularly.

Summative Evaluation Tool (SET) course and teaching evaluation

6. Student participation in SET course and teaching evaluations is to be voluntary.

7. All eligible undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses are to be evaluated each time a course is offered.

8. All eligible teachers associated with a course are to be evaluated each time a course is offered.

  • In emergency circumstances the Provost may waive this requirement.

9. Eligible teachers are those who have a significant teaching role in a course.

  • A significant teaching role will be determined in the context of the course and will include responsibility for a substantive part of the taught content and/or assessment in the courses, and/or the learning experiences that support the course’s learning outcomes.
  • Academic heads are responsible for determining eligibility.
  • Associate Deans Learning and Teaching (ADLT) will approve eligible teachers for each course and have final decision on this.

10. Tutors and individuals contributing to a course in honorary and adjunct roles are not eligible for SET.

11. SET course and teaching evaluations are conducted at the level of the course.

12. Course and teaching evaluation questionnaires are to be administered centrally in one evaluation instance in the final two teaching weeks of a semester or quarter.

13. Teachers are to provide the current and next cohort of students with a summary of their response and the actions they will take as a result of the feedback.

14. Student responses in summative evaluations are confidential. The identity of individual students must not be revealed to teachers.

15. SET teaching and course reports are to be provided to individual teachers and academic managers according to role.

Formative evaluation

16. Formative evaluation, including where appropriate peer observation and review, will be conducted by individual teachers or teaching teams during a course to assess how well teaching is contributing to student learning.

Course review

17. Course reviews must be co-ordinated by course directors after every offering of a course. Course review reports are to be included in the documentation for the Academic Development and Performance Reviews of teachers who have contributed to the delivery of the course.

Pass rates

18. Courses not meeting a nominated threshold pass rate must be subject to additional review within the faculty.

19. Courses under the threshold rate are to be discussed with the faculty dean and senior staff members during annual meetings with the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education.

Roles and responsibilities

20. Students are responsible for providing honest, responsible, timely and constructive feedback on their experiences of the learning and teaching process Note: feedback should be provided in terms that are consistent with the expectation that members of the University treat one another with respect.

21. Teachers are responsible for: using course and teaching evaluation information, together with formative evaluation methods, to reflect on the learning and teaching experiences of students within a course; providing feedback to students; and using properly contextualised evaluation information in applications for promotion, continuation or teaching awards.

22. Course directors are responsible for supporting the quality enhancement and assurance of a course by using course evaluation information in course review.

23. Academic heads are responsible for: using evaluation information to monitor teaching quality and the learning and teaching experiences of students within an academic unit; and reviewing course and teaching evaluation information as one source of evidence for Academic Development and Performance Reviews and promotion and continuation applications.

24. Deans (or nominated delegates) are responsible for ensuring follow-up formative and summative evaluations are undertaken where courses do not meet the overall satisfaction and pass rates thresholds as determined by this policy and associated procedures.

25. The Pro Vice-Chancellor Education is responsible for: maintaining the policy framework governing course and teaching evaluations; ensuring faculties are informed of courses falling below pass rate and overall satisfaction thresholds and that they address contributing factors.

26. The Academic Quality Office (AQO) is responsible for: management of the evaluation system and process, including commissioning of evaluations; configuration of individual course and teaching evaluation reports; and aggregated reporting from SET for academic managers. The AQO also prepares, together with the Planning and Information Office, annual reports on evaluation results for the faculties and Teaching and Learning Quality Committee.

27. The Planning and Information Office (PIO) is responsible for evaluation reporting through dashboards in Strategic Management Reporting, and for supporting the load of data for the configuration of SET evaluations.

28. ITS Academic Services is responsible for the management of system issues, as required, including upgrades and maintenance and SET data integration.

29. Teaching and Learning Quality Committee is responsible for advising and recommending on policies and procedures for the evaluation of learning and teaching and for monitoring institutional-level reports on evaluation information.

30. The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) is responsible for monitoring institutional-level reports on evaluation information.

31. The Provost, Deans and Directors Committee is responsible for approving the annually determined threshold for pass-rates.

Procedures

SET course and teaching evaluations

Evaluation schedule

32. A schedule of evaluation periods is to be published annually on the SET evaluations website.

Evaluation questionnaires

33. SET course and teaching evaluation questionnaires are to be made available on the SET evaluations website.

34. Supplementary questions may not be added to the course and teaching questionnaires.

Evaluation process

35. Eligible courses and/or teachers may not be opted out of evaluation.

36. Faculties are to be advised of the list of courses and teachers scheduled to be evaluated in each evaluation period.

37. Eligible teachers with a ‘Teacher’ role in Canvas and a University identity (username) will be evaluated in SET.

38. Faculties are responsible for checking and updating Teacher roles in Canvas.

39. If completed before the deadline advised by the Academic Quality Office, corrections will be reflected in SET.

40. Only eligible teachers (as outlined in the Policy) may be given a ‘Teacher’ role in Canvas.

41. Just before each evaluation period the Academic Quality Office is to provide faculties with a SET configuration summary, including the final list of the courses and teachers to be evaluated.

42. Students are to be notified about evaluations due for completion through email and notifications in Canvas. Students will receive targeted reminders.

43. Students may complete evaluations online at any time during the evaluation period on a computer or other device, and may be asked to complete evaluations in class.

44. Students are to answer questions on the course, followed by questions for each selected staff member. Students may select teachers using teachers' names and photographs, where a photograph has been published on a University directory.

45. Information is to be available to students about providing constructive and appropriate feedback.

46. Associate Deans Learning and Teaching may monitor response rates during the evaluation period.

Feedback to students

47. Course directors are to provide feedback on course evaluation results to the current and next cohort of students. This may be done through Canvas.

Reporting

48. Summary reports for SET course and teaching evaluations will be generated at the level of each course after the close of the evaluation period.

49. SET course reports are to be distributed to teachers, course directors, and their academic managers (including academic heads and deans).

50. SET teaching reports are to be distributed to individual teachers and their academic managers (including academic heads and deans).

Note - Teachers may access course reports, and their own individual teaching reports, through the link within Canvas courses. Academic managers may access summary reports and individual course and teaching reports through the link within Canvas courses. Further information on SET results is available through Strategic Management Reporting (SMR) dashboards. Deans and associate deans with responsibility for learning and teaching have access to secure dashboards for detailed evaluation results.

51. To protect student anonymity individual SET teaching reports must not be distributed to teachers for courses with fewer than five responses. These data will be included in aggregated reporting.

52. SET course and teaching reports are not to be automatically available to professional staff members.

Note: professional staff may use the open-access dashboards in SMR for SET information At the discretion of a dean (or delegate) or academic head, copies of evaluation reports may be made available to professional staff members.

53. The Planning and Information Office may consider requests for amendment to SET data on a case-by-case basis.

Use of SET data

54. SET evaluation results will inform Course Review.

55. Faculty SET results are to be reviewed each semester and quarter by Associate Deans Learning and Teaching and academic heads.

56. Summary annual faculty reports and details of courses with an overall student satisfaction result of less than 70%, and pass rates under the threshold rate, are to be notified to and reviewed with faculty deans.

57. A summary annual report on evaluation results for the University is to be reviewed by TLQC.

58. Teachers may add contextual statements to quantitative evaluation results used for career purposes.

59. Academic managers and staffing committees may take into account contextual information when using summative evaluation information for performance review or career progression purposes.

Confidentiality of SET data

60. Student identification will be used by the system to send targeted reminders to students who have not completed evaluations, and to link to student attributes as recorded on the student management system for the purposes of further demographic analysis of results.

61. Student identification numbers and/or names must not be identified in any reporting.

SET open-ended comments

62. SET open-ended comments are to be provided to teachers unedited.

Note - A teacher who considers that a student comment has breached the University’s Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures may report concerns to their Academic Head. Any subsequent investigation must be conducted in accordance with the Prevention of Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedures and the Statute for Student Discipline.

63. Inappropriate comments are to be removed from evaluation reports at the recommendation of the Academic Head following a finding of misconduct.

64. The identity of the student is not to be disclosed to the complainant unless approved by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education.

Evaluation process

65. Formative evaluation will normally be conducted at an appropriate point between the third and tenth week of semester (or at corresponding points for other teaching periods).

66. Formative evaluation will enrich and supplement information provided by formal SET course and teaching evaluations in career review and development processes.

Course reviews

67. Course reviews must include evaluative reflection on course structure, content and delivery; assessment; learning outcomes; student feedback; staffing, resources and facilities.

68. A completed course review form is to be submitted to the Head of Department within one month of the submission of final grades.

Note: templates for Course Reviews are available on the Education Office website 

Pass rates

69. Pass rates are to be monitored at the level of the academic unit (through course review and examiner’s meetings); at the faculty level and at the University level.

70. In accordance with an Education Committee requirement, faculties must provide a report and commentary on pass rates every two years.

71. When a course has a pass rate under the defined threshold rate:

  • the academic head must review the outcomes of the course on its next offering
  • a reflective statement reviewing issues that contributed to the low pass rate and discussing progress in resolving them is to be submitted to the Dean (or his or her delegate)
  • deans (or delegates) are responsible for ensuring appropriate response actions are taken, and for monitoring subsequent pass rate information

72. When an evaluation returns an overall SET course quality satisfaction result of less than 70%, AND has a pass rate under the threshold rate:

  • a reflective statement reviewing issues that contributed to the low student satisfaction and low pass rate and discussing progress in resolving them is to be submitted to the dean or nominated delegate
  • reflective statements and the results of subsequent SET evaluations may be reviewed by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education with faculty deans or their nominated delegate

73. Where a course does not meet the threshold pass rate in consecutive offerings the Pro Vice-Chancellor Education is to advise the Vice-Chancellor.

Resources and assistance

Note: further assistance with the evaluations process, including advice on the interpretation of evaluation results, is available from the Academic Quality Office, quality@auckland.ac.nz

Further guidance on evaluation practice is available from:

Definitions

The following definitions apply to this document:

Academic head means heads of departments, schools and other teaching and research units at Level 3 in the University Organisational Structure (or nominees). 

Associate Dean Learning and Teaching is responsible for the overall development of learning and teaching in the faculty, including providing policy and strategic advice to ensure that the faculty creates and fosters an environment that enables a positive student experience. 

Canvas is the University’s learning management system.

Course review is a review, involving all academic staff contributing to a course, conducted after the end of each delivery of the course.

Formative evaluation is in-course feedback gathered by a variety of means during course delivery to understand how students are responding to the course and the teaching methods.

Pass rates are the percentage of the enrolled students in a course who gain a pass grade. Enrolments are measured in EFTS. All students who remain enrolled after the deadline for deletion of enrolments are included in the calculation of pass rates.

Peer observation and review is normally a collaborative process in which academic partners work together to understand and improve their teaching practices.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part-time basis.

Summative evaluation is formal evaluation using the standardised University survey instrument.

Teacher refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part-time basis to provide instruction to students in taught courses, but excludes tutors.

Tutor refers to a graduate teaching assistant or a teaching assistant, or any individual working on a course in a closely supervised role.

University means Waipapa Taumata Rau | University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owned by: Pro Vice-Chancellor Education
Content manager: Manager, Academic Quality Office
Approved by: Council
Approval date: 11 December 2023
Review date:11 December 2028