Academic Leaders


Course Feedback Dates

Your Feedback Classroom Administration

Supporting Your Feedback Response Rates

Understanding Questionnaire Results

Accessing Past Results



Understanding Questionnaire Feedback

In Fall 2016, Western's Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching (SQCT) moved from paper administration to online administration and, in Fall 2017, the SQCT questions and rating scale were revised. In understanding SQCT results, please consider the possibility that the move online and revision of the questionnaire may have impacted the SQCT results of individual courses.

Contextualizing Student Questionnaire on Courses and Teaching Feedback

In any year, it is important for academic leaders to consider the context in which a course is taught. For example, new instructors, instructors teaching a course for the first time, or instructors who wish to try new teaching techniques or innovations may experience a fluctuation in their SQCT results and types of comments they may receive. Also, whether a course is required or an elective, the size of the course, and the mode of delivery may impact the results. Such contexts are important to keep in mind when trying to understand SQCT feedback.

SQCT Results

Section 3.2.1 of the Promotion, Tenure and Continuing Status section of the UWOFA Collective Agreement 2018-2022 indicates the following.

3.2.1 Performance in Teaching. For Members on the Tenure or Teaching Scholar Track, the evaluation of performance in Teaching shall be based on a teaching record which may include any material deemed by the candidate to be relevant to the work of Teaching. The Chair or Dean shall formally solicit the written opinions of current and former graduate and undergraduate students and members of faculty about the candidate’s performance in Teaching. The teaching record shall also include any evidence of teaching effectiveness such as peer reviews of teaching, as well as information about student experience in the classroom as reflected by data from Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching for all courses taught by the Member, where available. For each course, such data shall consist of class size, response rates, and the distribution of ratings, as well as other factors on which the Member provides comment, for example course characteristics such as elective or required status and mode of delivery. Such data shall not contain arithmetic averages. Evaluations of a Member’s performance in Teaching shall take into account factors that may bias any measures submitted. Any consideration of data from Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching shall take into account the possibility that they may be biased. A decision to deny Promotion and/or Tenure or Continuing status shall not solely be based on data from Student Questionnaires on Courses and Teaching

(p. 201).

Tips for Understanding SQCT Comments

Deans have access to Section 5 of the SQCT, which asks students to provide any supplementary comments about the course. These comments can provide useful feedback related to many aspects of course and degree programming, some of which instructors do not have control over, such as when courses are scheduled, class size and format, and repetition of content from other courses. This type of feedback is particularly helpful for Faculties completing self-studies for the IQAP process, but can also serve as a source for ongoing results related to course programing, curriculum mapping, and variety of teaching approaches. Keep the following in mind in understanding course comments:

  1. We tend to focus on negative comments. Be sure to also acknowledge those things that students believed were good about the course.

  2. It is entirely possible for students to provide positive feedback about an instructor and yet provide negative feedback about the course. Students understand that some elements of the course experience are beyond the control of the instructor, so be sure to compare course commentary with the instructor-based ratings results.

  3. Students often write comments when they have a strong opinion about the course or instructor, so compare written feedback against the ratings results to place comments in the context of the class as a whole. For example, while a written comment might indicate one student believed evaluation practices were unfair, ratings results might indicate that the class as a whole felt otherwise.

  4. Look for repeated patterns in written comments. You might find it helpful to group comments into categories. Remember that multiple comments about one aspect of courses --for example, overlap of course material with other courses--should be viewed as a single point of interest, not as multiple concerns or affirmations from multiple students. This Comments Analysis Worksheet, developed by McGill University, may be of help, although the comments categories are directed more at instructors.

  5. When written comments and ratings results align, comments can be a particularly valuable source of information for how to introduce changes into the course and across a program.