Module Evaluation Questionnaires

Module Evaluation Questionnaires are not an effective form of feedback; in fact they are harming the quality of an education at this university. My advice to students asked to fill them in is that they put strongly agree for all questions and then give constructive feedback in the comment sections and to their student reps to raise with staff. I would also advise that if students feel able to, they stand up and tell others in their lectures or seminars to do the same.

Problems:

  • MEQs hurt teaching quality by taking away intrinsic motivation and replacing it with incentives; this is despite the fact that intrinsic motivation has repeatedly been shown to be the only way to perform well in creative tasks such as teaching
  • They distort the relationship between student and academic and make it far more hostile. A Hostile untrusting relationship makes learning far more difficult.
  • The MEQs and the performance management that can result from them cause a large amount of staff stress, Birmingham is already one of the only Russell Group Universities in the bottom 20 for stress levels and it is counterproductive for students to play any part in making this worse.
  • They shift power away from academics and towards senior managers. This is a huge problem given the senior management’s actions towards many courses, cutting investment in order to increase surpluses.

Example of MEQ from Oxford BrookesFor more peer assessed information about why MEQs are counter productive see:

This document http://birminghamucu.org/2012/02/01/challenges-to-some-assumptions-about-the-proposed-module-evaluation-questionnaire-to-be-introduced-at-the-university-of-birmingham/ summarizing and referencing a Number of pieces of academic evidence. This has now been adopted as national UCU policy http://www.ucu.org.uk/index.cfm?articleid=6119#HE4.

 

MacLaren, I. (2012) The contradictions of policy and practice: creativity in higher education. London Review of Education 10 (2), 159-172.

Polster, C. and Newson, J. (2009) What’s wrong with corporatizing Canada’s universities? Plenty! CCPA Monitor (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) February, 32 – 35.

Woods, C. (2010) Employee wellbeing in the higher education workplace: a role for emotion scholarship. Higher Education 60, 171–185.

Clegg, P. (2008) Creativity and critical thinking in the globalised university. Innovations in Education and Teaching International 45 (3), 219-226.

Nixon, J. (2004) Education for the good society: the integrity of academic practice. London Review of Education 2, 245–252.

http://blog.regehr.org/archives/632

[1] Ordóñez, L.D., Schweitzer, M.E., Galinsky, A.D. and Bazerman, M.H. (2009) Goals gone wild: the systematic side effects of over-prescribing goal setting. Harvard Business School Working Paper 09-083.

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  1. Pingback: ‘The Customer Is Always Right’ Andrew Vallance Owen’s policies endorsed by Cameron. | Community Action Officer

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