Surveys or Questionnaires

Survey questionnaires can gather students' perceptions of learning, opinions about learning or reflections on learning. They do not allow students to directly demonstrate their learning, so they are called indirect assessments. Surveys cannot probe deeply into a student's experience, but they are efficient for gathering information from a large number of students. Interviews are excellent for deepening understanding of issues identified using surveys.

Below are a few ideas that may help you decide if surveys are an appropriate measure in your program's assessment plan.

Using an existing survey
The Gateway Coalition hosts online access to existing surveys used by engineering educators.

Developing a survey
Below are guidelines for writing surveys and choosing who to survey:

Analysis of quantitative survey data will require someone to enter all the data into a software package. For simple analyses, spreadsheet software is perfectly adequate. For sophisticated analysis, software for survey analysis may be appropriate.

Formal analysis of students' comments (answers to open-ended questions) requires qualitative analysis procedures. Even without formal analysis, helpful information for curricular decision-making can be offered by a group of interested faculty who have read all the student comments several times.