The assessment of programme components
is an essential part of the University of Antwerp's quality assurance system and every programme component is assessed at least once every four years by means of a student survey. Assessing programme components serves two purposes:
- Improving education. The surveys provide specific, reliable information which the lecturers and educational commissions can use to assess the education they provide and make changes where necessary.
- Assessing the lecturers. In addition to other education and research data, relevant results from the assessments are included in the personnel files of Tenured Academic Personnel.
A validated questionnaire is used during this assessment. The CIKO is responsible for the practical organisation and follow-up of the assessments. The questionnaires should be filled in either on paper during contact hours or electronically, during the semester that follows the end of the programme component in question, and students can assess the classes, study materials, exams and marking system. The survey results are reported to the lecturer by the dean of the faculty. When students report a problem, a decision can be made to draw up a lecturer monitoring plan and to assess the programme component more than once every four years.
The questionnaire used for this assessment is the outcome of a study conducted by the CIKO of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, who developed a reliable and valid questionnaire which has been thoroughly tested. The questionnaire measures 12 aspects (or dimensions) of education, outlined below with their operational definitions. Three (and sometimes four) closed-ended questions are asked about each dimension. Besides this, the questionnaire also includes a question about the availability of study materials, a question about why student workloads might be too high, and two open-ended questions about the positive and negative aspects of the programme component. The closed-ended questions are formulated as premises and students indicate the extent to which they agree or disagree.
During a programme assessment
, students assess the programme as a whole: whether the programme objectives (competences) can be achieved, the programme's structure and consistency, omissions, the sequence and coordination of the components, work and assessment methods, and so on. Surveys are drawn up for students who drop out as well as Bachelor and Master students and alumni. In this way, we hope to assess all aspects and stages of the programme: from students' initiation into university education until they finish their studies and enter the labour market. The results are then sent to the programme's educational commission and serve as an important basis for reflection on the programme and its curriculum and when drawing up a self-assessment report before an external review.