Teaching, learning and assessment are reviewed regularly by the Department, the University and by outside assessors including external examiners, the QAA and the IoP. Any suggestions for improvement and any problems identified in the course of any review are analysed and the appropriate changes or innovations implemented.
The Department monitors student opinion through
- Students are asked to complete questionnaires for each module. A summary of the responses for each module is kept on file and made available to staff and students. The Head of Department, or another academic appointed by him/her, discusses any issues arising from the questionnaire responses with the appropriate members of staff.
- The Staff Student Liaison Committee (SSLC)
- The SSLC meets twice a term to discuss any issue relating to teaching. There are four staff members (the convenor, the Director of Studies, the Director of Education and the Head of Department) and student representatives from the various degree programmes and all years. We aim to publish a response (on the SSLC website) to issues raised at each SSLC meeting within ten days of the meeting. These reports are considered at the following meeting of the SSLC and the Physics Education Committee. The SSLC also makes an annual report to the Student Union.
- Informal Contacts
- Staff often receive comments (usually in tutorials or in the laboratory) on the lecture and laboratory modules taken by students. These are passed on to the people concerned where appropriate.
There are three External Examiners, who are appointed by the University for a period of (usually) four years.
Each external examiner
- Submits a report to the Vice-Chancellor once a year. This can deal with any aspect of the teaching, but normally concentrates on issues relating to student achievement, examination and assessment procedures, the curriculum and on how standards at Warwick compare with those at other UK universities. The Department's responses are considered by the University's Teaching Quality Office and sent to the external examiners.
- Comments on the proposed questions on the second, third and fourth year physics examination papers. The comments would be considered by the appropriate examination secretary and examiner and the questions amended to take account of the external examiners' comments.
- Attends the final year examiners' meeting, where they advise on decisions.
- Reports verbally at the end of the examiners' meeting on any concerns they may have about the department's teaching.
The current external examiners and their appointment terms are:
- Simon Bending, University of Bath, Oct 2019 - Sept 2023
- Alex Lenz, University of Durham, Oct 2017 - Sept 2021
- Mark Wyatt, University of Cambridge, Oct 2018 - Sept 2022
The Department's degrees are accredited by the IoP. Whenever accreditation is due for renewal, the Department prepares a submission requesting renewal and, under current procedures, is visited by a panel of the IoP. The panel can make accreditation conditional on changes being made to the teaching.
University Teaching and Learning Review
The University reviews the Department's teaching and assessment periodically (the last review was in 2017). After receiving and analysing the Department's Self-Assessment, External Examiners' Reports and statistical data, the review panel meets separately with academic staff and students. It subsequently writes a report and makes recommendations. The report and recommendations are then considered by the appropriate University committees.
The Department reviews its programmes of study continuously, at the end of each academic year and in the Teaching Excellence Group events organised by the University. We look for any systematic problems or trends which may be apparent from student feedback, examination marks, scaling of examination marks, module registrations, comments from the external examiners and issues which have arisen during the year.
The Department also monitors the views of its staff. There is also a regular programme of peer review where members of staff attend lectures by colleagues, subsequently discuss the effectiveness of the lecture, and consider possible improvements.
Suggestions for improvement and problems identified in the course of any review will be analysed by the Education Committee and/or the appropriate staff (minor changes can be implemented by direct action). Major changes to the Course Regulations need to be approved by the University (this would be the case for setting up new programmes of study).
If a proposal for change is approved, the new module/procedure will be described in the appropriate course handbook. Where the change is in part or wholly a response to student feedback, an announcement of the change will usually be made at the SSLC.