Improvement-oriented evaluation of undergraduate science programmes and the quality of student learning

Botha, Jan (2009)

CITATION: Botha, J. 2009. Improvement-Oriented Evaluation of Undergraduate Science Programmes and the Quality of Student Learning, in E. Bitzer (ed.). Higher Education in South Africa: A Scholarly Look behind the Scenes. Stellenbosch: SUN MeDIA. 203-227. doi:10.18820/9781920338183/10.

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Chapters in Books

The quality of student learning is considered by many as a key area in the study of higher education as student learning gain seems to be one of higher education’s critical contributions to society. In this chapter insights gained from the internal evaluation of 17 undergraduate programmes in the sciences conducted by Stellenbosch University during 2007 and 2008 are reported and analysed with a view to the possible impact of these programmes on the enhancement of the quality of student learning. For the purposes of the analysis those improvement plans related to the achievement of student-centred learning and teaching are considered to have the best potential to have an impact on the quality of student learning. The authentic improvement plans devised by lecturers and students in the sciences give an indication of the shift towards student-centred learning and teaching which is gradually taking place. An important conclusion is that the evaluation of formative undergraduate programmes can be an effective instrument to improve student learning, particularly because such evaluations consider the academic activities from the students’ perspective, namely the programme, and not the individual modules of different disciplines offered by different departments.

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