Student participation and feedback

5.1 Overview

The University aims to ensure that students have a voice at all stages of the decision-making process, that they have direct input in formulating learning and teaching policy and practice, and that their views are the primary evidence on which the quality of learning and teaching is assessed.

5.2 Module Evaluation

Faculties are required to have effective processes for obtaining student feedback on modules. The University has a standard set of core questions in module evaluation questionnaires (ARO 002a) which will ensure that the University collects from across the subject range comparable data on the student experience.  Questionnaires must be issued towards the end of each semester. Module Co-ordinators consider the feedback received from module questionnaires along with feedback from Student Staff Consultative Committee(s) as part of the Module Review process (see Section 4.2). A summary report of the outcomes of module review and any action points are reported to the Divisional Committee and to the Student Staff Consultative Committee.

5.3 Learning and Teaching Review

5.1.1 The Learning and Teaching Review process engages with the Student: Staff Consultative Committee as a method of obtaining student feedback.

5.1.2 The student members of the SSCC are invited to contribute to the review process by producing a document detailing any issues of which they would wish the Review Panel to be aware.  The form in which this is presented is for the SSCC to decide, but might be, for example, a list of bullet-points or a Minute of the discussion of such issues at the SSCC.

5.1.3 The Panel meets with student representatives during the Learning and Teaching Review.

5.1.4 A student is included as a full member of the Review Panel for the Learning and Teaching Review.

5.4 National Student Survey

5.4.1 The University participates in the annual National Student Survey which allows the University to collect data on the level of student satisfaction across a range of areas.

5.4.2 Final year undergraduate students and part-time undergraduates in their fourth year of study due to complete their programme of study are invited to complete the survey.

5.4.3 Programme Directors consider the feedback received from the National Student Survey as part of the Annual Programme Review process (see Section 4.3). The Programme Director submits the Annual Programme Review report to the Faculty at the end of November for undergraduate programmes and the end of March for postgraduate programmes.  Annual Programme Review reports are considered at the Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee (or equivalent). Any relevant points are reported to the Divisional Committee and Student Staff Consultative Committee(s)

Academic Council, June 2004

Revised April 2006

Revised QEC September 2009

Revised QEC May 2012

5.5 Student: Staff Consultative Committees

5.1.1 All divisions of the University shall convene a Student:Staff Consultative Committee at least twice in each semester. 

5.1.2 The membership shall comprise the Head of Division or his/ her nominee, the Examinations Officer, the Director of Learning and Teaching, all current module co-ordinators, relevant programme directors, such other divisional officers as may be deemed appropriate, and student representatives for modules and/or programmes as appropriate, reflecting, as far as practicable, the different modes of study in operation.

5.1.3 Divisions may exercise flexibility, where appropriate, in convening separate Student: Staff Consultative Committees for different subject groups within the Division, or for, programmes at different levels with different modes of study.

5.1.4 Divisions should identify student representatives, constitute the membership of the Student: Staff Consultative Committee and confirm membership to the Policy, Planning and Governance Office within 3 weeks of the start of each semester.

5.1.5 The Student: Staff Consultative Committee should elect divisional student representative(s) for the Students’ Union Council (as per the formula stated in the constitution of the University of Stirling Students’ Union) and notify the Policy, Planning and Governance Office of their representatives within four weeks of the start of the Autumn semester each academic year.

5.1.6 It shall be the normal expectation that module co-ordinators attend Student: Staff Consultative Committees.  However, divisions may exercise some flexibility in arrangements, particularly where large numbers of staff are involved. It shall be the responsibility of the Head of Division or his/her nominee to ensure the transmission of comments to the relevant parties.

5.1.7 Student: Staff Consultative Committees shall routinely address issues arising from student feedback on modules, as well as broader issues of academic policy.

5.1.8 Student: Staff Consultative Committees shall be formally minuted and a written report of the proceedings transmitted to the Divisional Committee or its equivalent.  As a minimum requirement, the minutes should be routinely posted on the Divisional noticeboard. However, divisions may wish to consider convening a special meeting early each semester to disseminate information to the previous semester’s cohort of student representatives on follow-up action arising from that semester’s review of modules.

5.1.9 Divisions are encouraged to consider, as a template of good practice, the appointment of student representatives to the offices of Chair and Secretary, and to allow access to divisional secretarial resources for the preparation of agendas and minutes.

Academic Council, June 2000

Revised March 2006

Revised May 2008

5.6 Student Handbooks

Divisions are required to prepare and update student handbooks which describe, inter alia, their teaching practices, assessment procedures, use of external examiners, system for review of modules and programmes, student consultation mechanisms, policy on plagiarism, appeals procedures and their handling of postgraduate affairs.

5.7 Committee Representation

5.1.1 Students are represented on relevant school committees, Safety Health and Environment Committee, Joint Policy, Planning and Resources Committee, Education and Student Experience Committee, Research Committee, Honorary Degrees Committee, Academic Council and Court.

5.1.2 Students are also members of committees relating to the University’s regulatory framework including the Academic Appeals Panel, Academic Complaints Panel, University Discipline Committee and University Disciplinary Appeal Board. 

5.1.3 In addition to membership of the University’s standing committees, students are also included in matters of academic policy development and join the related working groups. 

5.1.4 Student members are either appointed ex officio as members of the Students’ Union executive, or are appointed by the Students’ Union.

Addendum: Module Evaluation Principles and Process


1. Module evaluation forms a core strand of the University’s ongoing enhancement of the student learning experience.

2. The University has in place a system that facilitates module evaluation being conducted consistently and meaningfully, in order to inform and support this ongoing enhancement. The software that is used to facilitate module evaluation is called EvaSys.

3. A Module Evaluation Steering Group meets with the purpose of undertaking discussion to guide and inform the ongoing development and implementation of the approach to module evaluation.

4. Module evaluation arrangements, including survey questions and process, are reviewed at least annually in order to ensure effectiveness and to appropriately take account of relevant internal and external developments.

Module Evaluation

5. Each module is to be evaluated every time it is delivered using the specified University module evaluation system. Faculties are required to make appropriate arrangements to ensure that this occurs.

6. Faculties must take action in response to feedback through plans identifying any agreed actions, timescales for implementation and lines of responsibility. Feedback and action plans are to be discussed and monitored by faculty Learning and Teaching Committees.

7. Faculties should use the feedback obtained through module evaluations to proactively enhance the student experience. As such, feedback may be used in relation to the quality of teaching, approaches to teaching, staff-student engagement, learning resources, facilities, student support etc.

8. While faculties should use module evaluation feedback to support and inform the ongoing enhancement of teaching, questions relating specifically and explicitly to named members of staff will not be included in questionnaires.

9. Students are informed via email by Academic Registry of their responsibility to provide constructive feedback. The email contains a link to information on module evaluation on the University website. While a student’s feedback might be critical of a module, it must not breach the Student Code or be otherwise inappropriate.

10. If a comment is received that a member of staff considers to be inappropriate, and the Dean of Faculty agrees, the comment will be referred to the Academic Registrar who will consider whether or not the entire response should be deleted. If this is the case, the comment will not be included in the feedback and the anonymous student will consequently lose their opportunity to have their comments on the module considered.

Question Setting and Survey Design

11. The content and layout of module evaluation questionnaires is managed by the Academic Registry team to ensure appropriateness in terms of length and question quality.

12. Four sets of questions are in place for use in respect to the following types of modules: standard: dissertation/research; placement/work experience; field work in place. This ensures that the University adopts a consistent approach to module evaluation across the institution. Question sets are developed by the Academic Registry in consultation with the Steering Group.

13. Questions are set on the basis of facilitating consistent and meaningful evaluation of the student experience at module level, as well as a direct comparison between modules of similar types.

14. All module evaluation questionnaires are completed by students on an anonymous basis and offer opportunities for free text comments to be provided as well as responses to rating scale questions.

15. The module evaluation system supports evaluations being undertaken in a range of ways such as online and paper questionnaire. The format of the questionnaire used within specific modules is to be determined only on the basis of the approach which is most appropriate to the mode of module delivery and the student group, and that which has the potential to achieve the optimal response rate.

16. In order to ensure that feedback is gathered from as many students as possible, the default minimum response rate target for each module evaluation is 60%.

17. Faculties must endeavour to achieve this response rate, and response rates are monitored by the Academic Registry who, where appropriate, liaise with faculties to discuss how improvement in response rates might be achieved.

18. However, feedback obtained from every module evaluation, regardless of response rate, should be used and considered by faculties.

Data and Results

19. The University is responsible for the effective and appropriate management of data collected for module evaluation purposes. As such, data is handled in a secure and confidential manner, and in line with Data Protection legislation.

20. The Academic Registry manages the data and results from module evaluations, using EvaSys and arranges for results to be made accessible to faculties.

21. Annex 1 outlines the arrangements for access to various elements of module evaluation data. The general principle used in determining access to results is that those responsible for a module, programme or for the faculty, and those who contribute to the teaching of a module should have access to all data.

22. Free text comments are included at the end of the reports for each module and are grouped by question number.

23. Those receiving module evaluation data are required to handle and use it in line with Data Protection legislation and guidance.

24. Raw data (excluding the responses to the open questions) is made available to faculties via the University’s Business Intelligence (BI) tool.

25. Sets of data relating to specified groups of modules can be prepared for faculties or divisions by the Academic Registry.

Annex 1 – Permitted access to module evaluation results

  Quantitative data / Scores Free Text
Comments (general)
Teaching contributors Yes Yes
Module Coordinators Yes Yes
Programme Directors Yes Yes
Deans of Faculty Yes Yes
Associate Deans of Learning and Teaching Yes Yes
Faculty Managers Yes Yes

Academic Registry, September 2016