The purpose of surveys of the student experience of courses

Information gathered from students’ surveys of their courses contributes to maintaining the overall quality of education at the University.

Professors at Mount Allison conduct surveys primarily for formative purposes; that is, they use student feedback to improve or maintain the quality of teaching and student learning.

Generally, professors are most interested in students’ written comments because those contain the most specific feedback about the course, what helped the students learn, and what could be modified.

The surveys are governed by Policy 5310 — Policy on Surveys of the Student Experience of Courses.

Procedures for administering the survey are outlined in Appendix B of the policy.

What do professors do with the results of the surveys?

Professors use these comments on the surveys when they prepare to teach the course again.
Therefore, it is most important that students answer the written questions and do so honestly, constructively, and respectfully.

Also, whenever professors are applying for tenure or promotion at the University, they are asked to present evidence of their accomplishments in teaching, research, and service.

Student feedback, accumulated over time in a variety of courses, can be a very valuable component of that evidence.

Finally, nomination dossiers for both internal and external teaching awards commonly contain student evaluation of teaching data.

Responsibilities and expectations of Mount Allison students

The survey period for courses is usually during the last two weeks of classes.

Be sure to have a pencil with you during this period: you will need one to fill in the Scantron sheets!

What does the survey form look like?

The evaluation form, printed on reusable card stock, contains up to 24 questions. Answer questions 1-22 by filling in the bubbles on the Scantron sheet. Numbers 23-24 are open-ended questions that ask you to write your own comments about the course, and you do this on the back of the Scantron sheet. Your instructor may include additional open-ended questions to be answered on a separate sheet.

Will my professor be able to identify me?

Surveys are anonymous and your professor will not get them back until final grades have been submitted—even so, please be sure to answer all of the questions honestly, constructively, and respectfully. This is especially important in the two open-ended questions that your professors use to gather specific feedback about what’s working and what could be changed in the course. Disrespectful or irrelevant comments will not help
to promote the quality of teaching and learning.
How can I help?

Since professors have to be out of the room while the evaluation is taking place, they will be asking students to help distribute and collect the survey forms in class. If your professor asks, please say yes! If you are interested in what this involves, read the Instructions for the Student Survey Assistant.

Instructions for student assistants

Mount Allison University Procedures for Surveys of the Student Experience of Courses

Directions for the Student Survey Assistant (SA):

1) Before the evaluation begins

When the instructor has left the room read the instructions to the class (see below).

Instructions to Students

  • Answer the questions thoughtfully, honestly, and respectfully.
  • Do not write on the question forms:  they will be re-used.
  • Work in silence; do not discuss your responses.
  • Answer your instructor’s supplemental questions (if used) as numbers 7-16 on the bubble sheet.
  • If there are supplemental comment questions (#25 and above), they should be answered on the extra sheet provided by the instructor.
  • Do not scribble on or fold the bubble sheets as they will not scan if you do so.
  • Fill in the bubble sheets using pencil only—or they will not scan. 

2) After the forms are completed

  • Collect all forms: survey forms and bubble sheets. Check that no forms are left in the classroom.
  • Put the survey forms into a separate pile.
  • Separate the completed bubble sheets from the unused ones.
  • Sort the completed bubble sheets so that they are face up with the Mount A logo in the top right corner. Please take the time necessary to do this important step because the sheets must all be oriented in the same way for the machine to read them.
  • Put all completed bubble sheets into the envelope; also include any extra sheets for supplemental written comment questions. SEAL THE ENVELOPE AND SIGN YOUR NAME OVER THE FLAP.
  • Return the envelope, along with the survey forms and the unused bubble sheets, which will be reused, to the departmental office immediately after the survey is completed, or at the end of class. Envelopes not returned within this time frame may not be processed.
  • Report any problems directly to the departmental office.

NOTE: If your course is a night class, taught outside usual teaching hours, or if the departmental secretary is not in their office when you go to return the materials, please take the sealed envelopes, the evaluation forms, and the unused bubble sheets to the Circulation Desk of the R.P. Bell Library. YOU WILL BE ASKED TO SIGN A SHEET THAT CONFIRMS THAT YOU HAVE RETURNED THE FORMS TO THE LIBRARY.

Policy revisions

The revision of this policy was passed on Feb. 13, 2018, accompanied by a report from the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee.

Information about the contents of the survey is found in Appendix A of the Policy.

The survey has been designed to allow for up to 10 additional “rating scale” questions; open-ended questions may also be added at the end of the survey.

In particular, the following categories of questions are strongly recommended in the report:

  • Questions requested by MASU
  • Questions from the previous survey, to provide continuity of results and support for teaching award applications
  • Questions relating to course components such as labs or tutorials