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Measuring quality

General Opinion  

This section shows students' general satisfaction with the course, expressed as a rating (Dutch grading scale). It also provides an average score calculated from students' answers to the question about how instructive they found the course.

Course quality   

What determines whether a course or a lecturer is good? According to research on education, a good (i.e. instructive) university course has a number of quality-related characteristics. UvA Q asks you to indicate whether these characteristics were present in the course. The aspects are as follows:

1) Clear course design, so that you know what to expect and what you need to learn.
2) Sufficient feedback, so that you can assess your progress during the course and learn from mistakes.
3) Academic challenge, i.e. the course is intellectually challenging for you and stimulates your critical thinking ability. Learning to think critically is one of the most important characteristics of university education.
4) Student-activating teaching, which encourages you to participate actively and regularly. You cannot learn unless you make a contribution yourself. 
5) An appropriate workload and level, so that the course is achievable for you. The courses that students have found most instructive are the courses with a slightly high workload and level. 

Learning outcomes

How much are you learning in the courses you are taking? How is this measured? In Europe, the learning outcomes for study programmes in higher education are described using the Dublin Descriptors. These descriptors are divided into five categories (‘Knowledge and understanding’, ‘Practical application’, ‘Making judgements’, ‘Communication’ and ‘Learning skills’) and are specified in more detail for the Bachelor's and Master's levels. The UvA is keen to know the extent to which these aspects are present in its courses, which is why the Dublin Descriptors are used in the UvA Q process to evaluate the relevant learning outcomes of courses. The descriptor ‘Learning skills’ is divided into two dimensions, namely ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Other intellectual skills’.  

Learning outcomes in the evaluation report for students

1) Knowledge and understanding refers to learning objectives that relate to gaining knowledge and understanding, the level, and the link to current developments in the subject area. 
2) Practical application comprises questions about applying subject matter in practice, the skills you have acquired that are important for the professional field, and the extent to which you have developed technical skills.
3) Making judgements includes questions that are designed to discover to what extent you have learned to use new sources and to analyse and assess arguments, and to find out about the research skills you have acquired.
4) Communication skills are measured with questions about the development of oral and written expression skills. 
5) Collaboration is measured with a question about the collaborative skills you have developed. 
6) Other intellectual skills refers to questions about the development of your creative capacities, the extent to which the course has increased your intellectual and cultural understanding, and the extent to which you have learned to recognise and appreciate your personal values.