The Development of the SCEQ

The Sydney University Student Course Experience Questionnaire (SCEQ) was developed for the Office of the Pro-Vice Chancellor Teaching and Learning in 1999.

The SCEQ is based on the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) which is used by the Australian Government as a quality assurance measure for all publicly funded Australian universities. The CEQ is administered by the Graduate Careers Council of Australia (GCCA) and surveys all graduates of Australian universities. The GCCA website has additional information on the CEQ. Extensive reliability and validity data is available for the CEQ and the questionnaire is based on an educationally sound student focussued model of teaching and learning. Instead of focussing primarily on teacher behaviours, the survey items focus on how students experience their courses and teaching, and how this shapes student learning.

In developing the SCEQ in 1999, the 25 original CEQ items were adapted to gather data from the perspective of current students rather than graduates. Six additional items were included that were particularly relevant to students' experiences of teaching and learning in a research-intensive university. These additional items were devised based on research being undertaken by the GCCA on new items for inclusion in a revised CEQ. In 2001, a further five items from the revised CEQ scales were included to extend the scope for benchmarking SCEQ data with partner institutions. The commonality between the SCEQ and the CEQ allows the University to articulate internal quality improvement processes with external quality assurance outcomes.

The focus of the SCEQ is on students' experiences of their degree course, not of a specific unit of study or an individual teacher. The CEQ items relate to teaching and learning factors:

  • Good Teaching Scale
  • Clear Goals and Standards
  • Appropriate Assessment
  • Appropriate Workload
  • Generic Skills
  • Learning Community
In 2001, a new University of Sydney pilot scale of 6 items was included to gather information on students' on-campus experiences.

Information on the contribution of items to the various factor scales, and the teaching and learning practices associated with each of the factor scales is available on the "Reading the SCEQ Report" pages.

Each item is rated on a five point Likert scale corresponding to the extent to which students agree or disagree with the item statement. Two open response questions are included in the survey. The students' comments relating to the best aspects of their course and the aspects of the course they perceive could be improved, provide valuable information to support the interpretation of the ratings for the other items.

As well as the teaching and learning items the survey includes a second section which gathers information on students' experiences of a range of student support and administration services at the University.