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The systematic influences on student evaluation of teaching in engineering education

Palmer,SR 2014, The systematic influences on student evaluation of teaching in engineering education, in AAEE 2014 : Assessment and Learning for Engineering : Proceedings of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference and IEEE International Conference on Teaching, Australasian Association for Engineering Education, Palmerston North, New Zealand, pp. 1-9.

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Title The systematic influences on student evaluation of teaching in engineering education
Author(s) Palmer,SRORCID iD for Palmer,SR orcid.org/0000-0002-2517-0597
Conference name AAEE2014 Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (2014 : Wellington, New Zealand)
Conference location Wellington, New Zealand
Conference dates 8-10 Dec. 2014
Title of proceedings AAEE 2014 : Assessment and Learning for Engineering : Proceedings of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference and IEEE International Conference on Teaching
Editor(s) Bainbridge-Smith,A
Qi,ZT
Gupta,GS
Publication date 2014
Conference series Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Start page 1
End page 9
Total pages 9
Publisher Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Place of publication Palmerston North, New Zealand
Keyword(s) Student evaluation of teaching
Class size
Year level
Summary BACKGROUND Student evaluation of teaching (SET) has a long history, has grown in prevalence and importance over a period of decades, and is now common-place in many universities internationally. SET data are collected for a range of purposes, including: as diagnostic feedback to improve the quality of teaching and learning; as an input to staff performance management processes and personnel decisions such as promotion for staff; to provide information to prospective students in their selection of courses and programs; and as a source of data for research on teaching. Rovai et al. (2006) report that while SET research provides mixed results, there is evidence that, for course-related factors, smaller classes are rated more favourably than large classes, upper-year-level classes are rated more favourably than lower-year classes, and that there are rating differences between discipline areas. While additional course-related factors are also noted, other reviews of the literature on SET also identify these three factors as commonly reported systematic influences on SET ratings. The School of Engineering at Deakin University in Australia offers undergraduate and postgraduate engineering programs, and these programs are delivered in both on-campus and off-campus modes.PURPOSEThe paper presents a quantitative investigation of SET data for the School of Engineering at Deakin University to identify whether the commonly reported systematic influences on SET ratings of class size and year level are also observed here. The influence of online mode of offer is also explored.DESIGN/METHOD Deakin University’s Student Evaluation of Teaching and Units (SETU) questionnaire is administered to students enrolled in every unit of study every time that unit is offered, unless it is specially exempted. Following data collation, summary results are reported via a public website. The publicly available SETU data for all School of Engineering units of study were collected for a two year period. The collected data were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) analysis to identify any significant systematic influences on mean student SETU ratings.RESULTS SETU data from 100 separate units of study over the two year period were collected, representing 3375 sets of SETU ratings, and covering unit enrolment sizes from 12 to 462 students. Although this was a modest sized investigation, significantly higher mean ratings for some SETU items were observed for units with small enrolments, for postgraduate level units compared to undergraduate level units, and for units offered in conventional mode compared to online mode of offer. The presence of the commonly observed systematic influences on SET ratings was confirmed.CONCLUSIONS While the use of SET data may have originally been primarily for formative purposes to improve teaching and learning, they are also increasingly used for summative judgements of teaching quality and teaching staff performance that have implications for personnel decision making. There may be an acceptance of the need for SET, however there remains no universal consensus as to what constitutes quality in university teaching and learning, and the increasing use of SET for high-stakes decision making puts pressure on institutions to ensure that their SET practices are sound, equitable and defensible.
Language eng
Field of Research 091503 Engineering Practice
130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation
Socio Economic Objective 930502 Management of Education and Training Systems
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
ERA Research output type E Conference publication
Copyright notice ©2014, Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30069831

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.