Are students learning what was intended? Evaluating progress using student perception surveys


  • Hong Dao Nguyen University of Sydney
  • Christopher Hammang University of Sydney
  • Timothy Lee University of Sydney


Evaluation, student perception, first-year


Student learning can be evaluated through performance in assessment tasks. With the final examination often being the most heavily weighted assessment, academics may not have the opportunity to evaluate whether students are learning what was intended until the completion of the course. Student perception of learning achievements can provide an alternative means for academics to receive timely evidence on student progress. In a first-year biology cohort (n=1300) with a large group of academic stakeholders, a survey was designed to assist lecturers in understanding the progress of students with their learning. At the end of each learning module, students were asked to complete a voluntary survey to rate their understanding on intended learning outcomes. The surveys used matrix questions, where, for each learning outcome, students indicated whether they were confident in their understanding, were neutral or required additional support. The outcomes from the surveys were used to direct students to learning resources and to inform academics of their own teaching practices. This approach provides a valuable tool in connecting academics with students in a large cohort, and has the potential to measure the impact of innovative teaching, support interventions and assessment changes.