Why we can't get no satisfaction 3

March 28, 2003

Questions about satisfaction with teachers and institutions are not as valuable as consulting students on how well they are learning the course and what we (and they) can do to improve that experience.

Such discussions are simple to conduct, are more constructive than harvesting grumbles from a few, and get students more involved. The quality measure is what staff, programme teams and institutions do with the outcome. Some programmes require tinkering while others need more radical review. Teacher performance is only one element. Surprisingly, much of the quality of students' learning is dependent on the skill with which the whole course is managed.

Students would get more valuable information from publishing course development plans that result from such consultation. This would also shift the focus from crude scores and locate feedback where it can do most good.

James Wisdom
Higher education consultant, London

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