Queen's Survey of Student Experience of Teaching (QSSET)

QSSET or Queen's Survey of Students' Experience of Teaching is the new version of USAT or the University Survey of Student Assessment of Teaching. This survey was first implemented in the Fall term of 2020 and is the official survey of the learning experience at Queen's. It was developed over a period of several years and continues to be developed in consultation between the University and the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA). The content of the survey is based on the criteria outlined in Article 29 of the Collective Agreement between the University and QUFA.


What's new in QSSET?

This new survey has several features which differentiate it significantly from the previous measurement tool:

1. It is administered entirely online through Scantron technology, unlike the paper-based instrument used in the past.

2. The QSSET moves away from the idea that it is a formal assessment of an instructor's teaching ability and research expertise and toward a registering of the student's experience of the learning environment. Assessment implies years of developed expertise in a particular area and a judgment by peers or senior academics, whereas a survey of experience attempts to record the immersive, direct encounter of a student with learning in a classroom, in an online environment, or a blended modality.

3. The survey is divided into four sections: Student, Instructor, Course and Course Infrastructure.

4. The electronic format allows for more extensive open comments by students. Each section allows for typed comments from students with a final overall comments section at the end of the online survey. The material in these sections is viewed only by the instructor and can be used for reviewing formative aspects of teaching and learning.

5. There are no averages or means for individual instructor questions, and there are no measures against other instructors in the academic unit.

6. In the past, the USAT did not undergo regular review. The QSSET will be overseen by a standing committee which will report to the Joint Committee to Administer the Collective Agreement (JCAA) on any issues relevant to the running or the content of the survey.

7. While the USAT allowed for individual questions to be added by the instructor to the core set of questions, these questions were not reviewed or approved by any external body. The result was an unevenness in the quality of the questions and sets of questions that often were either too narrow or too wide ranging. The standing committee overseeing the QSSET will assess and approve additional questions for potential inclusion in the survey.

8. Finally, the new survey includes an opening statement indicating that any students may not make comments that are disrespectful, demeaning, discriminatory or harassing in nature. Surveys containing such comments will be discarded and form no part of the evaluation process.

Any questions should be addressed to qsset@queensu.ca.