Briefly Speaking Number 18 Problematising student feedback to incorporate the ethics and rigour of academic research

Briefly Speaking

Student feedback is increasingly being collected and analysed as a mechanism for assuring the quality of teaching and learning in higher education. However, there are other critical decisions that institutions make based on student feedback, including decisions on rewarding and/or sanctioning academics. This Briefly Speaking piece argues that, given the weight that institutions attach to student feedback in making decisions beyond quality assurance, it is of critical importance that its collection and analysis are problematised, so that they are underpinned by theory, and conducted following standard research methodologies, rigour and ethics. Doing so would transform the collection and analysis of student feedback from being a simple quality assurance praxis, into a form of scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). The Briefly Speaking piece provides context of its main thesis by discussing the origins of student feedback, and the challenges associated with the traditional ways of collecting and analysing student feedback. Such challenges raise questions about the scientific validity and reliability of student feedback. The Briefly Speaking piece discusses the dangers of relying on information that lacks scientific validity and reliability in making decisions that have far-reaching implications on the quality of teaching and learning, as well as on the careers of academics. It ends by providing a brief description of more research-orientated approaches to the collection and analysis of student feedback.

Read more: BS 18 Problematising student feedback_September 2021.pdf