School of Social and Political Science

Quality processes and reporting


Semesterly reflection on our courses

The core of our reflection process on our teaching takes place at course level. That's the building block upon which everything else, described below, sits. Every time we run one of our courses the course organiser collects feedback from students at the mid-semester point and then through Course Enhancement Questionnaires at the end of the course. This information is used as a basis to reflect on the course overall - a process that includes thinking about the course structure, readings, components of assessment, and student attainment. The course organiser shares these thoughts with the external examiner (see below) and with other members of the School's teaching staff at our Boards of Examiners.


The role of the external examiner

All course conveners write a report on their courses for an appointed external examiner (typically an academic at another UK university who has expert knowledge in the area covered by the course). External examiners review a sample of assessed work - essays and exams - and give written feedback to the course convener. This feedback is then discussed when our Boards of Examiners meet to determine grades. This is a core component of how we reflect on, and work to improve, our teaching.

Annual reflection on our programmes

Schools are responsible for the annual monitoring, review and reporting of all credit-bearing provision. The annual review process allows the University, the College and the schools to systematically reflect on academic standards and to take action to enhance the student learning experience.

Our programmes - undergraduate and postgraduate - are clustered in appropriate ways and relevant members of the academic staff write an annual report reflecting on the strengths of, weaknesses of, and challenges facing their programme or programmes.

This does not require a separate process and should be carried out in tandem with exisiting structures including School learning and teaching committees or small group discussions between School and subject area staff. Annual programme reports are fed into School annual and strategic planning.

Annual reflection on the School's overall provision of teaching

All schools are required to prepare an annual quality assurance and enhancement report. This is completed by the school Director of Quality. The reports are a means for schools to review the past academic year, to highlight what has gone well and and to identify any issues or actions that require College or University attention. These reports are submitted to Academic Services in August each year and inform the annual College Quality Assurance and Enhancement Report.

Periodic teaching and postgraduate programme reviews (TPRs and PPRs)

Every few years all of our degree programmes are reviewed through a process of Programme Reviews. Identifying and sharing good practice in teaching and learning is a key part of these reviews. Reviews are conducted across subject areas or degree programmes with input and insights from academic colleagues across the University as well as academics from other universities who ensure external input into the process.

Ad hoc University-wide thematic reviews

Thematic reviews are also periodically undertaken on a University-wide basis (e.g. on Student Support and on Support for Disabled Students).