Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Does the timing of evaluations matter? An investigation into online student feedback and whether timing has an impact

Julie-Ann Pegden, Curtin University
Beatrice Tucker, Curtin University

Abstract

Anecdotal evidence suggests that some academic staff believe that student feedback varies depending on when students give their feedback. This study examined student feedback gathered in four different six week evaluation periods (Semesters 1 and 2 in 2009 and 2010) at Curtin University. Response rates and survey responses were analysed to determine when student subgroups give their feedback and whether student feedback differs according to week of survey submission. Results showed there was little variation in weekly response rates over the six week evaluation period according to student age, gender or semester weighted average, although there were lower rates of participation in week six by students of low semester weighted average than students of higher semester weighted average. Survey results varied slightly over the weeks and generally were lowest in weeks one and five and highest in weeks three and four. Differences in student feedback over the evaluation period were generally small and whilst there were some recurring patterns of variation in responses, there were also quite varied patterns of responses over different semesters in different weeks, particularly at the faculty level. Overall, week of survey submission did not have a consistent impact on survey results which were generally stable over time.

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