Procedure for course evaluations


The purpose of the course evaluation is to provide lecturers, study boards and management with knowledge of the learning outcomes of the study programme’s elements in order to continuously improve the courses and guarantee students the best possible conditions for learning and for completing their studies. Course evaluations are designed to assure the quality of courses and to create a solid basis for future enhancement. The faculty places great emphasis on the evaluations as a means of guaranteeing positive conditions for student learning and lecturer engagement.

All ECTS credit accumulating study activities are evaluated

Course evaluations comprise all ECTS credit accumulating study activities; incl.:

  • bachelor and master’s projects
  • master’s theses
  • field work
  • academic internships

Frequency of evaluations

The Faculty places great emphasis on the evaluations as a means of guaranteeing favourable conditions for student learning and lecturer engagement. Thus, course evaluation is conducted at the end of each course cycle.

A subject element is normally evaluated twice during the process – at the mid-way point and at the end.

The purpose of the mid-point evaluation is to make improvements and adjustments to a subject element while it is running. The mid-point evaluation provides lecturers with tangible and specific indicators that they can use to change the content and/or form of teaching for the rest of the semester.

The purpose of the final evaluation is to contribute to future improvements and adjustments to the courses, and to provide study boards, programme management and other stakeholders with information about the subject element and the teaching.

The evaluations therefore have a dual purpose. They provide a “snapshot” of current teaching and establish a basis for knowledge about how to develop the course in the future – both in the short and longer term.


The faculty’s policy is to conduct evaluations each time a new course element is run, and at least every second time thereafter. The head of studies is responsible for the details of the evaluation plan.

Data acquisition and choice of evaluation form for final evaluations

Course evaluations are devised and completed at the central administration at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Boards of Studies may add questions to the evaluations that are specific to their home departments so that the evaluations are adapted to any peculiarities that the courses in question may contain, and to the wishes and needs of the individual Boards of Studies. Lecturers may also add questions that are specific to their courses to the evaluations.

When choosing evaluation form and formulating questions. it is emphasised that the results of the course evaluations are application oriented and that this is made apparent to students.

The final evaluation is based on information gathered from students via questionnaires and takes into account:

  • what students have gained from the courses in terms of learning
  • students’ experiences with course configuration and content
  • interaction between lecturer and students

A common faculty questionnaire offers advantages in the form of continuity and the opportunity to compare results over time and across subjects and programmes. Electronic evaluation provides the opportunity to ask all course participants and for automatic data capture. The faculty administration is responsible for updating and maintaining the evaluation tools (such as the questionnaires).

Communication about purpose and results

Heads of Studies are responsible for following up on the course evaluations with students and lecturers. This can take place through multiple channels, e.g., the KUnet Study Information of the respective study programmes, questionnaires, emails, meetings and through lecturers. The Boards of Studies, along with the Heads of Studies, assess which adaptations may be relevant as a result of the course evaluations

For example, the first lesson for a given course may begin with the lecturer informing the students about any changes that have been made compared to the previous course cycle, a result of the evaluations, or parts of the lecturer’s teaching style that the lecturer plans to change as a response to previous evaluations.

Response rates

The response rate is mainly secured by carrying out evaluations in class and by regularly involving students in the evaluation process. At the Faculty of Social Sciences, the accepted rate of response is 50%. Ongoing efforts are made to improve the response rates. Response rates are the focus of attention when choosing the method of evaluation, and communication about the purpose and result of the course evaluations also aim to increase response rates. Ways of increasing response rates are regularly considered by the Boards of Studies, among departmental management, in the Heads of Studies Forum, as well as by the Faculty management team.

Drafting course evaluation reports

Heads of Studies prepare annual course evaluations for each department at a maximum of three pages in which evaluations for the most recent academic year are summarised. The faculty has a template to be used for the summative teaching evaluation reports. Course evaluation reports place courses of study into one of three categories: A, B or C. This is made on the basis of the results from the survey and subsequent discussion in the board of studies.

  • A: An exemplary course of study that can be of inspiration to others.
  • B: A satisfactory course of study.
  • C: A course of study that requires adjustments.

The Head of Studies for the programme in question consults with the programme’s Board of Studies and is responsible for the application of A, B and C categorisations. The administration is responsible for the Board of Studies receiving detailed information about the students evaluation of courses and classes. Follow-up initiatives are described in the course evaluation report.

The course evaluation report must be approved by the Dean.

Category A

An A-evaluation is given when course evaluations are particularly good, e.g., when the lecturer has embarked on exemplary initiatives that have created positive experiences from which other lecturers and course elements can benefit.

Category B

A B-evaluation is given when conditions are regarded to be satisfactory. A B-evaluation does not exclude the Head of Studies from conveying suggestions for improvement to the course lecturer, but as a rule of thumb, the initiative rests with the lecturer.

Category C

A C-evaluation is given when conditions in one or more areas are of a character that warrants supervision by the Head of Studies and/or the Head of Department, depending on the issues in question. A C-evaluation can also be given when the need arises to change aspects of a course element that do not relate directly to teaching, e.g., course content, student prerequisites, course difficulty or the scope of the course.

Publication of course evaluation reports

The evaluation reports are published on the department website before 1 December every year. This gives staff, students, and external stakeholders the opportunity to view the results and the follow-up plans. It also provides the general public with an insight into evaluation procedures and quality assurance at the faculty.

As evaluations often involve considerable back-and-forth correspondence, publication involves a certain amount of aggregation of results in order to comply with the Data Protection Act.

Links to completed course evaluation reports are found on the right side of this page.

Follow-up on the results of course evaluations

In cooperation with the Head of Department and the Board of Studies, the Head of Studies is responsible for ensuring that steps are taken to follow up on course evaluations. The Board of Studies is responsible for decisions on follow-up work concerning the planning courses, academic content, exams, and amendments to curricula.

The administration ensures that the individual lecturers and/or course coordinators can access detailed information on the students' evaluation on their individual courses and classes so that they can follow up on the evaluations.

The Head of Studies is responsible for ensuring communication with students, lecturers and other players and stakeholders about the results of, and steps taken to follow-up on the, course evaluations. The Faculty’s offer of skills development for lecturers is described here:  Here, it is further described how it is ensured that offers of skills development correspond to needs and how the Faculty documents initiatives in relation to skills development.

The assistant professors discuss their teaching evaluations with their assistant professor supervisors as part of their supervision.

The assistant professors discuss their course evaluations with their supervisors as a part of their supervision. 

The Head of Studies informs the Head of Department of evaluation results and other results from the courses on an ongoing basis. This ensures that the Head of Department is aware of all matters relating to the individual staff member’s teaching and any need for further development, e.g., in connection to performance and development reviews. The Head of Department is responsible for ensuring that steps are taken to follow up on the course evaluations, particularly in relation to competencies of the permanent academic staff.

A category B evaluation does not preclude proposing improvements and adjustments to the lecturer, but in principle taking the initiative is up to the lecturer.

Follow-up on category C evaluations

The Head of Studies is responsible for the Head of Department receiving detailed information on courses and classes that receive category C evaluations, so that the Head of Department is able to conduct follow-ups on the evaluations.

If issues relate to personnel issues (e.g., lack of punctuality or a failure to grade assignments on time), a category C evaluation will lead to an interview between the Head of Department and the lecturer. Staff matters are the joint responsibility of the Head of Studies and the Head of Department, the Head of Department being responsible for permanent academic staff and the Head of Studies being responsible for part-time academic staff.

In other cases, e.g., concerning the use of educationally inappropriate teaching methods or evaluations that indicate the need for adaptations to teaching form or other adjustments to the individual course, the Head of Studies, and the lecturer, through dialogue, agree on a mutually acceptable solution. If the Head of Studies and lecturer fail to agree on a solution, the Head of Department is brought in. Heads of Studies discuss the need for relevant further education for staff, at regular meetings with the Associate Dean for Education.

In all cases, the goal is to reach unambiguous agreement. For example, it may be agreed that the lecturer may embark on a course or be placed under peer supervision, or that some other kind of skills-development process is initiated.

In each case of a category C evaluation, concrete, targeted initiatives must be put in place to meet the specific demands.

Allocation of responsibilities

Lecturers must:

  • Keep themselves informed of the results of the course evaluations for their courses.
  • Decide, based on the course evaluation, whether they should revise their teaching in the future or work on skills development.
  • Involve the Head of Studies if the evaluations suggest that changes to the course or the study programme are needed.

The Head of Studies is responsible for:

  • ensuring that the course evaluations lead to conclusions and possibly decisions, including whether the Study Board should take action and if so, what form that action should take
  • that the purpose with and results of the course evaluations are communicated to the teaching staff, the administrative staff, and students.

The Study Board is responsible for:

  • assessing and deciding on adjustments related to planning, academic content, examinations, and adaptation of curriculum.

The Head of Department is responsible for:

  • following up on the course evaluations with particular regard to the competencies of the teaching staff.

The Dean is responsible for:

  • ensuring that course evaluations are completed in line with the guidelines of the Faculty of Social Science and the University of Copenhagen (which are described here).
  • publishing the course evaluation reports
  • approve the course evaluation reports
  • ensuring that the Faculty of Social Science’s guidelines for the area are revised if necessary