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#EAIR2019 Programme

#EAIR2019 Programme

Non-response in Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET). Why not and what's their opinion?



Institutional Research for Responsibility


Mari van Lunenberg et al, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Single presentation - 30 Minutes



The employability of student evaluations of teaching (SET) questionnaires and acceptance by staff depends highly on the response rate. A major concern is whether all student’s opinions about the course are represented. Therefore most institutions aim at improving response rates.

The system for online SET at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam provides students the option to state the reasons for not taking part in the evaluation.

In this paper both the main reasons for students not to respond and possible bias effects of non-response are analysed. Moreover, implications for the use of online SET in quality assurance of teaching are discussed.

The analysis of over 300 online SETs showed lack of time as the key reason for not taking part in an evaluation. Furthermore, preliminary data suggests that there is a bias in online SET; meaning that non-responders tends to judge the course more negatively, in comparison with responders.


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