Closing the loop on student feedback: the case of Australian and Scottish universities

Mahsood Shah*, Ming Cheng, Robert Fitzgerald

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
81 Downloads (Pure)


Universities have a long history of collecting student feedback using surveys and other mechanisms. The last decade has witnessed a significant shift in how student feedback is systematically collected, analysed, reported, and used by governments and institutions. This shift is due to a number of factors, including changes in government policy related to quality assurance, and the increased use of the results by various stakeholders such as governments, institutions, and potential students and employers. The collection, analysis, and reporting of results are systematically carried out in many institutions worldwide. However, how to use student feedback to effectively improve student learning experience remains an issue to be addressed. This paper will contribute to this debate by comparing how Australian and Scottish universities use student feedback results to inform improvements. Based on thematic analysis of external quality audit reports of all Australian and Scottish universities, this paper suggests that universities have systematic processes to collect student feedback using a range of mechanisms, but limited work is done to use the data to inform improvements. This paper argues the need for universities to genuinely listen to student voice by facilitating partnership between students and institutions to act on their feedback as part of quality assurance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalHigher Education
Issue number1
Early online date27 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • Closing the loop
  • Quality assurance
  • Student engagement
  • Student experience
  • Student feedback


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