Evaluation at FAU
FAU takes a decentralised approach to evaluation, as it does to all quality management measures. The key criterion here is that data collection and evaluation are linked to the appropriate levels.
Decentralised evaluation system
The faculties are responsible for the evaluation of courses, modules and degree programmes. In this way it is ensured that the content and methods of the evaluation are adapted to the decentralised quality management structures. This is the best way to guarantee that evaluations are fully integrated into the decentralised quality development and quality assurance systems and used effectively.
Centralised evaluation system
Some aspects of the evaluation of teaching and studying are carried out centrally. These include the organisation and co-ordination of university-wide surveys. FAU participates in the Bavarian Graduate Panel (BAP), a project of the Bavarian State Institute for Higher Education Research and Planning (IHF), as well as the graduate/former student survey co-ordinated by the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). Furthermore, administrative data is processed and evaluated centrally and then made available to the faculties and degree programmes. In collaboration with the Office of Strategic Information and Performance Statistics (S-PFS), valuable information on the development and heterogeneity of students, drop-out rates, and the number of graduates is provided. In addition to ensuring that those involved in decentralised evaluation receive advice and support, another key task of the centralised evaluation system is to design, conduct and evaluate the FAU student survey.
FAU student survey (FAU-St)
The student survey, also referred to as ‘FAU Panel’, is a key element in teaching and studying. This annual survey has been conducted at FAU at a central level since 2011. It provides a detailed overview of students’ opinions and what they think about studying conditions at FAU. The responses can be analysed by degree programme. The survey has now been conducted five times. Following a comprehensive revision, the student survey was renamed and will be called ‘FAU-St’ as of 2016.
The survey was fundamentally revised in the summer of 2015 due to low participation and a high number of participants not completing the survey. It was renamed ‘FAU-St’ and more detailed questions regarding specific groups of students and study situations were developed within newly defined survey focus areas. The questions target specific groups which are asked to answer sets of questions designed to reflect their individual study situation. The individual groups are new students, students who will graduate soon, current students, students transferring from other universities, students changing degree programme, and ‘students during transition from Bachelor’s to Master’s degree programmes.
The survey collects information which gives an impression of the studying conditions at FAU in general. ‘FAU-St’ supplements the evaluations of individual degree programmes, lectures and seminars, and analyses of study progress based on administrative data. The student survey provides an opportunity to find out about topics such as the level of satisfaction, study situations, initial experiences at FAU, motivation and reasons, expectations, evaluations of infrastructure and service centres at FAU, promoted areas, prospects and career entry but also problems and difficulties which may be encountered at FAU. This improves the information available that can be used to evaluate the degree programmes on offer and the studying conditions at FAU.
The survey findings are an opportunity for decision-makers at FAU to use the empirical evidence as a basis to make direct contact with students and discuss specific situations in individual degree programmes and to initiate processes of change.
The results of previous surveys were published in FAU’s online publication system OPUS FAU as part of the FAU Panel publication series. There are currently reports available for the surveys conducted from 2012 to 2015. As of 2016, the results will be published on OPUS FAU under the heading ‘Studierendenbefragung’ (student survey), including a reference to previous publications.
The sixth survey will be conducted in early 2016.
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