A study of student completion strategies in a Likert-type course evaluation survey

Nicholas Gee

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6 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates the motivations and strategies employed by respondents to a Likert-style course evaluation at a UK university. These attitude surveys, generating large amounts of quantitative data, are commonly used in quality assurance procedures across UK higher education institutions. Similar student survey results are now scrutinised by regulatory bodies undertaking external inspections, and by prospective students when making choices about their course and university of study. For respondents, I argue that the ubiquity of such evaluations has led to complacency, misunderstanding and apathy, with the adoption of completion strategies that lack deep engagement. This research also reveals that the recollection of specific key events and the existence of personal relationships are the strongest influencers in respondents allocating an attitude score. I conclude that the distinction between formative and summative evaluation could be articulated more explicitly to respondents, and that to genuinely inform future teaching and enhance satisfaction for respondents, substantive qualitative comments should be sought alongside attitudinal scoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-350
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Early online date16 Nov 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Course evaluation
  • Likert scale
  • attitude surveys
  • student satisfaction

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