Using the student voice to enhance the teaching of undergraduate courses with high failure rates

Erik Blair


Whilst it is likely that some students will fail a course, it is important for universities to determine whether such failure is a personal outcome or whether there are aspects of the course that could be more conducive to student learning. In adopting a student-centred approach, this research analysed data drawn from student evaluation questionnaires (SEQs) in order to establish how students thought the teaching of undergraduate courses with high failure rates could be improved. Many higher education institutions use SEQs as tools for gathering data on the teaching and learning experience, but the emphasis here is on how such data can be used. Content analysis was used to map the SEQs of students enrolled on 19 courses with high failure rates against a baseline developed from the SEQs of students enrolled on 19 courses with low failure rates. This paper examines these responses and makes five recommendations specifically aimed at improving undergraduate courses with high failure rates.


student evaluation questionnaires; student voice; failure rates

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