The transformative journey taken by University of Derby with evasys

Paula Bushby, Academic Quality Manager at University of Derby, details the transformative journey taken by the institution in its use of evasys, leading to significantly increased response rates and a direct connection with institutional success measures.

Read our summary of the presentation below.

The transformational impact of an integrated approach to surveys

At University of Derby, module and programme evaluation is a key part of the institution’s continuum monitoring process and is central to understanding overall levels of student satisfaction, providing early indicators of institutional success measures, including likely engagement levels and outcomes of the NSS.

Taking use of evasys from a very basic subscription level through to a fully integrated, institution wide survey and evaluation tool has driven multiple benefits, including:

  • Taking survey response rates from 18% to 40%

  • A goal of all surveys achieving 50% response rates and over

  • High engagement from senior leaders and senior academics

  • Implementing the ability for instructors to close the feedback loop with students through reflections within two weeks of survey closure. In semester 1 2023/24, reflections were provided back to students for 90% of all modules; the aim is to achieve 100%.

  • Creation of pulse surveys where data gathered was utilised for the TEF submission

  • Development of specific dashboards to provide instant data views across programme, school, college, institution, response rates, overall student satisfaction, student sense of belonging, university KPIs and regulatory metrics

  • Ability to analyse data by student characteristic, providing insights into attainment differences

  • Raising the status of insights provided by surveys to become a key tool in achieving institutional goals

  • Using data and insights from module and programme surveys to inform decisions and connect with institutional success measures


increase in survey response rates from 18% to 40%

The successful implementation of an integrated approach to module and programme surveys has been transformational at University of Derby, taking it from functional data collection to a resource that connects to institutional KPIs and informs regulatory submissions.

From simple module evaluation to an institution-wide approach

University of Derby’s evasys journey illustrates how the university has been able to use data from module and programme surveys to inform decisions, raise the status of survey insights and create a direct connection with institutional success measures and the associated performance indicators.

The transformational impact of an integrated approach to surveys University of Derby case study

To align with institutional goals, the new system incorporated:

  • Module Leader access to an Instructor Portal: enabling active engagement in response rates whilst the survey is open, and instantaneous access to aggregated responses and related analysis post survey closure

  • Closing the feedback loop: completion of lecturer reflections post survey to let students know their feedback has been heard and is being acted on

  • Student Survey Portal : protected by Single Sign On (SSO), a portal providing students with access to all their surveys, and allowing a QR code to be promoted through multiple media

  • Move from anonymous to confidential surveys: allowing for personalisation of automated emails and enhanced reporting at programme level in relation to student characteristics. Also allows for emergency intervention if and when required.

  • Pulse surveys: utilised in a number of ways, for example to support TEF submissions

  • School and College access to all survey information: enabling college and school staff to monitor and engage with response rates, and to access aggregated data immediately on survey closure

  • Enhanced reporting: senior academics and leaders are able to access module data analytics to gain overview at programme, college and institutional levels

  • Dashboards: instant data review broken down by specific areas such as overall satisfaction, KPIs, regulatory metrics and more

  • Subsequent implementation through evasys of a programme survey

All of this, combined with buy-in from senior leaders, academics, the Students’ Union and students themselves – who were kept informed by the student engagement team – created a culture of feedback and response that continues in the university to this day.

A survey process central to institutional goals and objectives

The start of the 2022/23 academic year saw a new learning and teaching assessment framework introduced, based on the five factors of student success that have been shown to support retention, progression, academic achievement and future employability. These are:

  • Sense of belonging
  • Sense of purpose
  • Self-efficacy
  • Resilience
  • Engagement
university darby students

Senior academics and leaders were keen to access the data analytics from module surveys to gain an overview at programme, college and institution level to provide insights that could inform their own evaluation and decision making. This is where the creation of new dashboards came in, with the evasys team helping to scope and create a collection of dashboards that improved data analytics and had a significant impact. Data from the dashboards is regularly incorporated into reports presented at university committees, as well as being used to identify areas of good practice and areas for improvement.

The initial dashboards increased usage of evasys and generated interest in additional dashboards that would help with wider institutional monitoring, such as evaluation against KPIs and regulatory metrics. The team at evasys offered support to develop these, as well as an additional dashboard view for survey data by student characteristic, which has provided insights into attainment differences.

Continual enhancement of the survey process

With evasys being used across so many different areas to provide data and inform decision making, there is also a clear focus on constantly improving results. Pushing up response rates and closing the feedback loop are key goals, with an eventual target of 50% and up on response rates, and all surveys having instructor reflections completed and returned to students within two weeks of survey closure.

Already, survey responses rates for this academic year are at 40%. Monitoring and reporting on instructor activity is now in use so that senior academics can review module leader engagement with survey actions such as reminders and reflections.

University of Derby is now ideally positioned to use data from module and programme surveys to inform decisions right across the institution. The survey system is known and appreciated as a fantastic insights tool, to the point where there are clearly communicated expectations relating to module and programme surveys that are directly connected to institutional success measures.

For further detail on University of Derby’s approach, view the event resources from the evasys Data & Insights event.

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For further detail on University of Derby’s approach, view the event resources from the evasys Data & Insights event.

Share This Case Study!