Section 5.2 Factors Affecting Feedback

Section 5.2 Factors Affecting Feedback

Section 5.2 Factors Affecting Feedback

In addition to the issues identified as confounding variables (See Section 8) a number of factors should be heeded as impacting on the quality and accuracy of the feedback. Lecturers should be cognisant of these issues before analysis of the SET data.


The most common problem is the high risk that the quality of student responses may be affected by survey fatigue (Tucker, Jones, & Straker, 2008). Given that each UCD student is invited to complete one summative survey per module, plus whatever formative measures are taken by their lecturers, this could potentially result in a large number of teaching related questions per semester. Accordingly, it is not unlikely that the level of insight and constructive feedback may deteriorate from the early to the later evaluations.


Keane and MacLabhrainn (2005) suggest that when approaching feedback lecturers should be aware of situational factors that may explain particular results or bias feedback in some way, and to keep these issues in mind during analysis. One such example was provided by Bartlett (2009) who recounts a lecturer’s concern at their consistently low SET ratings despite positive comments in the open-ended questions section. It was revealed that the wording explaining the rating scale was confusing, and was amended: “now I tell them, 'If you want to nuke me, use 1. If you want to praise me, put 4”


Activity 5.2

Given the potential impact of ineffective feedback can you suggest three ways of actively reducing SET survey fatigue to keep students motivated and the data useful?

Submit your answers

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