Policy and guidance on the annual review of taught provision
Updated on 1 September 2016
Taught programmes and their constituent modules are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that forward planning is based on focused reflection and evaluation of data and relevant feedback, with a view to continuous enhancement of our taught provision.
1. Introduction and overview
1.1. Rationale and aims
1.1.1 Taught programmes and their constituent modules are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that forward planning is based on focused reflection and evaluation of data and relevant feedback, with a view to continuous enhancement of our taught provision. Responsibility for conducting the processes of annual review of taught programmes and modules lies with the Schools of the University. The outcomes from annual review of modules and programmes feed into the development of annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports. This informs planning processes at School level and provides the University with appropriate information for oversight of the quality assurance and enhancement of taught programmes.
1.1.2 The primary aim of completing annual module and programme quality enhancement reports is to formalise the process of reflection on taught provision with the goal of enhancing future delivery.
1.1.3 The principal aims of completing annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports are to:
- synthesise the outcomes of the reflective processes that have been undertaken at module and programme level, in order to ensure that School strategies and operational plans are appropriately aligned with an enhancement-focused approach to learning and teaching and the student experience
- assure the University that annual reviews of taught provision have been undertaken effectively (i.e. that annual review processes are based on reflection and evaluation of evidence and take account of student views and feedback) and that the enhancement of student learning opportunities have been appropriately considered
- provide a framework to inform the annual discussions between the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) and the individual Schools
1.1.4 The Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) advises the Learning and Teaching Committee on the outcomes from annual learning and teaching reviews in order to inform the development of appropriate, supportive and enhancement-led policies and processes.
1.2.1 This policy and the processes described below apply to all undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and modules. Whilst the policy and associated processes are centred round ‘standard’ undergraduate programmes, Schools should ensure that annual quality enhancement reporting is appropriately adapted for programmes and modules that do not fit within the normal semester structure for full-time undergraduate students. The process and timelines described in this Policy and Guidance on the Annual Review of Taught Provision should be modified appropriately and annual reports made for consideration at School level as for standard undergraduate programmes and modules.
1.2.2 In cases where all of the modular components of a programme are wholly exclusive to that programme, subject to agreement by the relevant School Board (or School Quality and Academic Standards Committee (SQASC) where there is delegated responsibility for quality and standards), an annual programme review can encompass all the component modules and there would be no need to produce separate annual module reports.
2. Annual module review
2.1.1 The module leader (or equivalent), in consultation with the module team, is expected to:
- consider aspects of student performance and achievement
- take account of feedback and observations from students, staff and external examiners (the views and contributions of external examiners can, where appropriate, be captured from feedback given from the meeting(s) of Boards of Examiners.1
- consider the effectiveness of teaching and assessment practices and their alignment with the aims and learning outcomes of the module
- reflect on the effectiveness of feedback on assignments and exam performance to students
- review past changes to the syllabus and its delivery, and consider how these aspects could be enhanced for the future
- identify good practice in teaching and ensure it is shared
- consider approaches to equality and diversity
- respond to recommendations or needs identified from previous annual quality enhancement reports, annual and periodic programme reviews, reports from Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) where relevant, School learning and teaching enhancement reports or School operational plans as appropriate and
- ensure that recommendations for actions are followed-up appropriately
2.2 Responsibilities and timing
2.2.1 Responsibility for ensuring the timely production of annual quality enhancement reports lies with the Associate Dean (Quality and Academic Standards) of the School in consultation with programme/discipline leads. Development and production of the module reports is normally carried out by the module leader (or equivalent) and the team, with the involvement and support of the School quality manager(s).
2.2.2 Module teams are expected to include all those contributing to the module, including technical and administrative staff as appropriate. It is essential that the views of appropriate student representatives are included in the development of annual module quality enhancement reports.
2.2.3 As far as possible, annual module reports should be produced before consideration of arrangements at programme level for the following year's teaching delivery, so that any changes can be formally agreed, documented and incorporated into plans for programme development.
2.2.4 The timing of the reporting deadlines should be arranged such that:
- student assessment results are available from the first sitting of the end-of-module exams and/or coursework
- student end-of-module feedback results are available and
- the experience of delivering and assessing the taught material is fresh in the minds of staff and student representatives.
2.2.5 Ideally, annual module quality enhancement reports should be completed within a month following publication of assessment results, and at the latest by early July (at least in final draft form) in order to usefully inform the development of annual programme enhancement reports. The indicative timings for reporting are shown in Appendix 1.
2.3 The annual module review process
2.3.1 The module leader or equivalent, working with the School quality manager or their nominee, should first collate the statistical information, feedback and other information required for the development of the annual module quality enhancement report.
2.3.2 The module leader should then convene a meeting of the module teaching team (or equivalent) and student representatives2 to discuss the above information and agree on any potential changes for the next schedule of teaching, recording these in the annual module quality enhancement report.
2.3.3 The report should be submitted to the programme leader(s) so that outcomes and any proposed changes can be considered as part of the annual programme review process.
2.3.4 If the annual module review process results in proposals for substantive alterations to module or programme specifications, the reporting and consultative procedures described in the University’s procedure for Changes to Taught Provision must be carried out, including consideration at School and University committee levels or through the University’s Emergency Powers process where necessary.3
2.4 Production of annual module quality enhancement reports
2.4.1 The recommended timing for the completion of module review reports is to ensure that any proposed changes are aligned with strategic developments at programme level and incorporated into the curriculum for the following academic year where appropriate (and subject to resolution of any timetabling issues). It is also important that there are opportunities for module and programme handbooks to be revised to reflect any changes, and that there are robust mechanisms in place to communicate any changes to students. Note that during annual programme reviews, there should also be opportunities for strategic developments at programme level to feedback into module development. Annual module quality enhancement reports are therefore not formally finalised until they have been considered as part of the annual programme review. Full achievement and progression data are considered at programme level.
2.4.2 The annual module quality enhancement report template along with guidance notes for its completion is available at:
All fields should be completed. Where certain fields (e.g. effect of past changes) are not applicable to the annual module review this should be stated as ‘not applicable’. Fields must not be left blank. Incomplete, poorly-completed or absent annual module evaluation reports will be flagged by programme leaders as part of their annual programme review report.
3 Annual programme review
3.1.1 The programme leader (or equivalent), in consultation with the programme team, board (or equivalent) is expected to:
- ensure that the programme remains current and valid in light of developing knowledge in the discipline, practice in its application, and internal and external initiatives
- consider the cohesion of the programme in terms of the content of the modules, module choices and graduate skills
- consider retention, progression and student achievement
- evaluate the continuing effectiveness of teaching and assessment practices in relation to the intended learning outcomes
- map assignment deadlines (where possible) to ensure that students do not experience unreasonable workloads at specific times
- ensure that external examiners' views are taken into account.4
- take account of student views as expressed by representatives or through internal and external feedback processes
- reflect on the effectiveness of feedback to students
- consider the approach to communication with students
- identify and disseminate good practice within the programme
- consider approaches to equality and diversity
- consider potential strategic programme developments in light of annual module reviews, periodic programme review, PSRB reports, any relevant changes in PSRB accreditation or QAA subject benchmarking and how these are being addressed, the School learning and teaching enhancement report and School operational plans
- ensure that recommendations for appropriate actions are followed up appropriately.
3.1.2 In the case of jointly taught provision, the annual module and programme review processes should comply with the University's policy on teaching collaborations as described in the Quality Framework for Teaching Collaborations.
3.1.3 The effectiveness of collaborative arrangements such as articulation agreements with other institutions/organisations should be considered specifically as part of the annual programme quality enhancement report.
3.2 Responsibilities and timing
3.2.1 Responsibility for ensuring the timely production of annual programme quality enhancement reports lies with the Associate Dean (Quality and Academic Standards) of the School in consultation with programme/discipline leads. Development and production of the programme reports is normally carried out by the programme leader and the team, with the involvement and support of the School quality manager(s).
3.2.2 Programme teams would normally be expected to include the programme leader, leaders of component modules and, where appropriate, administrative and technical staff. It is essential that the views of appropriate student representatives are included in the development of annual programme quality enhancement reports. Where student representatives are not available to attend a face-to- face meeting, efforts should be made to ensure that student representatives have other opportunities to contribute to the review process.
3.2.3 The timing of the formal annual programme review process should follow the module review process, but ideally should begin informally during the course of module review. It is important that, where possible, module review is carried out in the context of relevant programme(s) and is robustly aligned with annual programme review.
3.2.4 It is suggested that (for most undergraduate programmes) the formal process of annual programme review should begin in late June/early July. Ideally, the review should be completed, at least in draft form, before teaching commences so that any changes in practice can be incorporated into the programme delivery for the up-and-coming academic year5, and that any modifications can be incorporated into programme handbooks. Within these suggested timings, the pass rates of component modules would be considered for the first sitting, and outcomes from the resit diet would be added as a later addendum. With regard to consideration of student progression, programme teams should review available interim data, and where necessary add an addendum to the annual programme review documentation following the outcomes of the Termination of Studies Committee.
3.3 The annual programme review process
3.3.1 The programme leader or equivalent, working with the School quality manager or nominee, should first collate all the statistical and student feedback information required for the annual programme quality enhancement report.
3.3.2 The programme leader should note relevant outcomes from the annual review of all compulsory or optional modules, and in consideration of the cohesion of the programme and graduate skills, should liaise with module leaders on iterations of module reports if required. Where possible, programme leaders should reflect on how modules link together in terms of assessment practices, to ensure that there are not unreasonable workload expectations for students at specific times during the semester. The programme leader should note within the report:
- any aspects of module reports that affect the programme, or strategic programme developments that impact on modules
- whether assignment deadlines are appropriately distributed (where possible) and
- any potential impacts for the School operational plan
3.3.3 The programme leader should convene a meeting of the programme team to discuss the module reports and any proposed programme developments (in response to strategic internal factors or external influences). Any potential changes for the next iteration of teaching within the programme, should be agreed and recorded in the report.
3.3.4 The programme team should report on any outcomes from the annual module and programme reviews that should be considered by the School Board (or SQASC where authority has been delegated).
3.3.5 The annual programme quality enhancement report should be submitted to the School Board or SQASC along with all relevant module quality enhancement reports. If changes are being proposed that affect the delivery of the programme in Semester 1, Schools should consider mechanisms by which the relevant School committee members can consider any proposed changes to the programme or enhancement-focused developments in advance of the scheduled meetings of the relevant School committee (the Board or the SQASC).
3.3.6 School Boards or SQASCs should consider any issues that arise from annual programme reviews and ensure that these feed into School learning and teaching enhancement reports, which should also inform School operational plans. Indicative timings are shown in Appendix 1.
3.3.7 If the annual programme review process results in proposals for substantive alterations to module or programme specifications, the reporting and consultative procedures outlined in the University’s procedure for Changes to Taught Provision must be carried out, including consideration at School Board or SQASC level or through the University’s Emergency Powers process where necessary.
3.4 Production of annual programme quality enhancement reports
3.4.1 The annual programme quality enhancement report template along with guidance notes for its completion is available online.
All fields should be completed. Where certain fields (e.g. evaluation of past changes) are not applicable to the annual programme review this should be stated as ‘not applicable’. Fields must not be left blank. Incomplete, poorly-completed or absent annual programme evaluation reports will be flagged by the Associate Dean (Quality and Academic Standards) as part of the School annual learning and teaching enhancement report.
4 Annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports
4.1.1 Deans together with the Associate Deans (Quality and Academic Standards, and Learning and Teaching) are expected to reflect on and summarise the experience of running existing programmes, and consider plans for enhancement.
4.1.2 The School learning and teaching enhancement reports should be informed by annual programme reviews; periodic programme reviews; external examiners’ reports; data relating to recruitment, retention, progression, student achievement, student feedback, league tables; and other internal and external influences. They should contain responses to any issues and trends in these areas.
4.1.3 The School learning and teaching enhancement reports should inform the development of School operational plans and contribute to the University’s oversight of quality assurance and enhancement. They will form the basis for annual discussions between School senior management teams and the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching). The School learning and teaching enhancement reports should:
- evaluate information from the School's annual programme and module reports, accreditation and periodic programme review events (where relevant) and substantive matters arising from external examiners' reports
- consider student feedback obtained through both internally organised schemes (e.g. the student representative system, module feedback surveys and minutes from staff-student liaison committee meetings) and those organised externally (e.g. the NSS, the PTES and the International Student Barometer)
- provide an evaluation of retention and progression rates and student achievement across the School's portfolio of programmes
- consider approaches to enhance graduate employability
- reflect on approaches to learning, teaching, assessment and student support, including curriculum development, innovation, inclusiveness, teaching collaborations and professional development of staff.
4.2 Responsibilities and timing
Responsibility for ensuring that annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports are appropriately developed lies with the Deans of Schools. The authoring of the report will normally be led by the Associate Dean (Quality and Academic Standards) or the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) or both. The School learning and teaching enhancement reports should normally be developed between November and January (see Appendix 1).
4.3 The annual School learning and teaching enhancement reporting process
4.3.1 The annual School learning and teaching enhancement report should be considered by School Board or SQASC prior to submission to the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching). Schools should ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place for the learning and teaching enhancement reports to connect with the development of School operational plans.
4.4 Production of annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports
4.4.1 The annual School learning and teaching enhancement report template along with guidance notes for its completion is available online.
4.4.2 The information provided in the School annual reports forms the basis for the annual face-to- face discussions between School leaders in the area of learning and teaching, the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) and the Director of Quality and Academic Standards.
4.4.3 Whilst the School learning and teaching enhancement reports require a statement of assurance, the main purpose of the reports is not to audit compliance. Rather, the approach has been designed to promote enhancement, and to help the Schools to promote a culture of continuous improvement so that all of our students have the best experience and graduate prospects possible. The reports should be informed by centrally-held data on student retention, progression, achievement, league- table positions, student employment and NSS, PTES and PRES scores as appropriate. Although much of the data is focused on undergraduate programmes, it is important the Schools also give appropriate consideration to their postgraduate provision.
4.4.4 The reporting template has been designed to provide a framework for Schools to reflect on good practice, innovations and challenges in the area of learning, teaching and the student experience. The template is not intended to constrain approaches to reflection on performance and forward planning, nor is it intended to be a laborious paper exercise. Lengthy descriptions are not required under each heading as the relevant data will be ‘on the table’ to guide the annual discussions as well as being available to Schools through the Learning and Teaching Information site of My Dundee. The focus is on analysis and actions being taken to enhance areas of strength and address areas for development. Generic statements that could be repeated every year should be avoided. The completed form should normally be no more than 6 pages.
5. Institutional oversight of annual School learning and teaching enhancement reports
5.1.1 The formal annual face-to-face dialogue between the School leadership teams and the Vice- Principal (Learning and Teaching) and the Director of Quality and Academic Standards is the basis for an effective framework for consideration of ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ strategic matters relating to the enhancement of learning and teaching and the student experience.
5.1.2 A synopsis of the annual discussions is presented, as an oral report, by the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) to the Learning and Teaching Committee every year. Key elements arising from the annual discussions may be developed as themes for discussion by the Learning and Teaching Development Forum.
5.2 Timings for the process
5.2.1 Schools should submit their annual learning and teaching quality enhancement reports to the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) before the end of February. The annual discussions normally take place in March/April. An overview of the outcomes of the reports and the annual discussions is presented to the Learning and Teaching Committee in May.
Dr Lesley McLellan
Director of Quality and Academic Standards
Approved by the Learning and Teaching Committee 14 May 2013
Revisions approved by the Quality and Academic Standards Committee 5 Sept 2016
Appendix 1: Indicative timings for the production of annual enhancement reports
Annual module review: January - July
Annual programme review: July - September
Learning and teaching enhancement reports: November - January
Vice-Principal's annual quality enhancement discussions: March - April
Outcomes of the annual discussions considered by the LTC: May
Relevant quality assurance and enhancement resources
Appendix 2: Relevant quality assurance and enhancement resources
Guidance from Disability Services
The Academic Skills Centre (ASC)
QAAS Quality enhancement themes
QAA Subject benchmark statements
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework: Teachability
University of Dundee Quality Framework
1 It is recognised that, in many instances, the formal, written external examiners’ reports will not be available to inform annual module reviews within the suggested timeframe. Should formal examiners’ reports flag-up any urgent issues that were not communicated during meetings of Boards of Examiners or other interactions, Schools should ensure that these are addressed appropriately.
2 Where module review meetings fall within a period where student representatives are not available to attend a face-to-face meeting, efforts should be made to ensure that student representatives have other opportunities to contribute to the review process.
3 The University’s Emergency Powers process should only be used under exceptional circumstances where there is a compelling need to make changes to modules at very short notice. The University’s Quality and Academic Standards Committee meets at least six times per annum and Schools should ensure that Emergency Powers are only used where serious failings have been identified which need to be dealt with as an emergency.
4 It is recognised that, in many instances, the formal, written external examiners’ reports may not be available to inform annual programme reviews within the suggested timeframe. Should formal examiners’ reports flag- up any urgent issues that were not communicated during exam/programme board meetings or other interactions, Schools should ensure that these are addressed appropriately.
5 Note that consideration must be given to any impact on the timetable, and potential knock-on effects to the Central Timetabling System.
Quality and Academic Standardsqualityandacademicstandards@dundee.ac.uk