Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Internal evaluation systems and the creation of a peerless bureaucracy

Simon Burgess, CQUniversity & Monash University


In recent years universities have worked hard to develop internal evaluation systems. This paper first discusses the development of statements about ‘course learning outcomes’, ‘programme learning outcomes’ and ‘graduate attributes’ and recognises that these initiatives do serve certain worthwhile purposes. Given that the statements are concerned only with the minimum standards to be attained by all students, however, what they can achieve is quite limited. They help to prevent certain forms of inadequacy but they do nothing to inspire any rise above mediocrity. To ensure high standards of teaching and learning and to inspire continuous improvements, far more is required. While student evaluations and peer evaluations both have a positive contribution to make, in most Australian universities peer evaluation is a far from prominent feature. Following a recent and remarkably successful trial, a peer partnership approach to teaching evaluation is championed here as being eminently worthy of wider encouragement and institutional support.

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