Academic Manual


Section 2: Annual Student Experience Review (ASER)

Published for 2021-22

2.1 Purpose of ASER2.5 ASER Commentaries
2.2 Publication and Circulation of ASER Data2.6 Publication of ASER Reports
2.3 The Role of the Quality Review Sub-Committee2.7 ASER and Module Evaluation Questionnaires
2.4 ASER Evaluative Reports and Development & Enhancement Plans 

2.1 Purpose of ASER


UCL’s Annual Student Experience Review (ASER) draws together monitoring activities (data review, External Examiner Reports, student surveys, NSS Action Planning) that are extended throughout the year into an annual ‘health check’ exercise for undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate taught (PGT) provision. ASERs provide an opportunity to:

  • Monitor each Department’s scrutiny of student datasets and subsequent action plans;
  • Reflect annually on risks and weaknesses in partnership with students, identifying action to be taken forward where necessary;
  • Review processes and engagement with University quality assurance and quality enhancement policies;
  • Discuss departmental and faculty engagement with key strategic education priorities;
  • Provide a formal opportunity for Education Committee to discuss student experience matters including the programme portfolio and the effectiveness of the response to student feedback;
  • Review academic partnership activity (including student exchanges/study abroad);
  • Review common themes emerging from External Examiner reports;
  • Identify good practice worthy of wider dissemination.
2.UCL recognises that the process of reviewing taught degree provision is iterative, and that much of this business takes place at different times and through a variety of mechanisms during the monitoring year. Responsibility for reviewing such provision is devolved to Departments and Faculties and, for this procedure to work, it is important that Departments and Faculties are able to identify concerns:
 a)That apply to a particular programme;
 b)That are common to a number of its programmes or disciplines and to take timely and appropriate action.

2.2 Publication and Circulation of ASER Data 

1.Each year, Academic Services’ Student Data Services Department will prepare datasets for each UCL Department containing information on:
  • Student Profile (Male, Female, Home, EU, Overseas, Ethnicity, WP)
  • Admissions
  • Progression (UG)
  • Average Student Achievement
  • Final Classification
  • Submission 
  • Referral
  • Completion
2.These datasets will then be analysed by Student Data Services.

These measures will be used in conjunction with data from a number of other sources: Additional sources will include:

  • External Examiners’ Reports 
  • External survey results (NSS, PTES)
  • Feedback from internal surveys (e.g. MEQs)
  • Employability statistics (Graduate Outcomes Survey, formerly DLHE)
  • New to UCL and Student Experience Survey (SES) results
  • Other (e.g Town hall meetings, Unitu etc).
4.Consideration of the analysed datasets will be the task of the Staff Student Consultative Committees (SSCC) and Departmental Teaching Committees (DTC).
5.There will be one main issue and one update of datasets per academic session, to enable continual update of the Development and Enhancement Plan.
6.See Annex 9.2.1 ASER Main Steps for more details.
 Graduate Outcomes Survey, (formerly DHLE) Data
7.UCL acknowledges that time lapses in the production of each cohort of the Graduate Outcomes Survey data means that cohorts will not correlate and cannot be compared (i.e. there will be no direct relationship between the survey data produced for evaluation in 2020 and the graduating cohort but Departments are expected nonetheless to evaluate their own performance in the Graduate Outcomes Survey and will have to work with the most recent complete dataset available.

2.3 The Role of the Quality Review Sub-Committee 

1.As noted in Section 2.2 Publication and Circulation of ASER Data, consideration of the datasets produced and analysed by Student Data Services will be undertaken by Staff Student Consultative Committees and Departmental Teaching Committees. The QRSC will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the minimum QA elements of the ASER process and an annual review of the Department’s Development and Enhancement Plans to identify themes and identifying institutional risk areas for consideration and response by Departments. These Development and Enhancement Plans produced by Departments will also be discussed by DTCs and SSCCs before being submitted to and approved by Faculties then to the Secretary of the QRSC. This annual review by QRSC will focus on the Development and Enhancement Plans and the QRSC will be charged with approving planned actions and with checking with Faculties that all actions have been appropriately followed up. It will operate in a similar way to the IQR Panel, with faculty representatives invited to these meetings to discuss the Development and Enhancement Plans where the QRSC deems this necessary.

2.4 ASER Evaluative Reports and Development & Enhancement Plans 

1.The QRSC will release the ASER dataset to each Faculty, accompanied by the template for an Evaluative Report and Development and Enhancement Plan. This must be completed by each Department, discussed by the Departmental Teaching Committee (DTC) and Departmental Staff Student Consultative Committee (SSCC) and scrutinised and signed off by the Faculty Teaching Committee before the annual snapshot is taken by the Secretary of the Quality Review Sub-Committee of EdCom. See Annex 9.2.1 ASER Main Steps for timelines.
2.Actions detailed in the Development and Enhancement Plan should be precisely stated, ensuring that they are measurable and achievable. Where more than one person is listed against an action it should be clear who is the lead and is responsible for completion. The Development and Enhancement Plan should include the date on which it was subject to Faculty scrutiny (i.e. at which FTC meeting). The Development and Enhancement Plans will form the basis of discussion at the Quality Review Sub-Panel meeting. FTC minutes must clearly record discussion of the ASERs and any outcomes or actions resulting from this.
3.Following the annual snapshot the Departments will continually update the Development and Enhancement Plan in response to Staff Student Consultative Committees (SSCC) and Departmental Teaching Committees (DTC).

2.5 ASER Commentaries

1.In the Commentary section of each department’s ASER, there is a section for the staff departmental author to provide a commentary on “What contextual issues have shaped the progress against last year’s development plan and this year’s plan? How does the department ensure a culture of continuous quality improvement?” The commentary has a limit of 500 words and enables departments to provide additional information on the design and implementation of their development plans. The staff commentary should be completed before the QRSC snapshot of ASER in Term 2. 
2.In the same section, there are sections in which the student co-authors at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels should provide their commentaries on “How have students been involved in ensuring progress against last year’s plan and identifying priorities for the coming year?  How does the department work in partnership with students to ensure a culture of continuous quality improvement?” These commentary sections also have a limit of 500 words. The student co-authors are typically the Lead Department Reps at undergraduate and taught postgraduate levels. The student commentaries should be completed before the QRSC snapshot of ASER in Term 2.

2.6 Publication of ASER Reports

1.ASERs and their associated Development and Enhancement Plans, once approved by the QSRC, should be published on either departmental or faculty intranet sites, for viewing by UCL staff and students. They should also be made available to External Examiners.
2.Before publication, it is requested that colleagues exclude anything from their DEPs that could identify individuals. They are therefore asked not to name course tutors or individual students. 

2.7 ASER and Module Evaluation Questionnaires

1.The proforma for Departments to summarise the information arising from consideration of MEQs has been designed to provide a clear overview of the main matters of interest arising from the analyses of the MEQs and any action taken. It can be found at Annex 9.2.2 ASER Departmental MEQ Summary. The MEQ summary should inform the Department's Report and Development and Enhancement Plan.
2.The following points should be considered in completion of the proformas for departmental and faculty consideration of the MEQ data:
 i.It is advisable that analysis of the MEQs is conducted by Departments and academic units in time for the beginning of the following academic session;
 ii.The departmental proformas should be submitted, as part of the ASER Development and Enhancement Plan to the DTC and the SSCC and FTC.