Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Designing a Feedback Questionnaire for the Evaluation of Postgraduate Courses

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Designing a Feedback Questionnaire for the Evaluation of Postgraduate Courses

Article excerpt

The main goal of this study was to develop a sound feedback questionnaire for postgraduate courses in adult education. It was important that the questionnaire shows good psychometric qualities and it fulfils criteria of feasibility and practicability. Due to lack of motivation feedback questionnaires at great length are not filled out properly. Our target group in the Austrian Academy of Psychology (AAP) are mainly psychologists who do postgraduate in-depth courses and seminars in various fields of psychology (e.g., Clinical and Health Psychology, Traffic Psychology, etc.).

Postgraduate education has been gaining importance over the past decades, especially in the various fields of psychology and psychotherapy. From a review of the literature it was evident, however, that there is a lack of instruments for evaluating postgraduate courses on a scientifically sound basis. Frequently, evaluation questionnaires had been developed intuitively by a training institution and are used without examination of their psychometric qualities. However, such instruments cannot be expected to fulfil their purpose properly.

The use of proper evaluation or feedback instruments is an important asset to the quality of the educational programme and can substantially contribute to continuous improvement of the courses (Palmer, 2012; Wright & Jenkins-Guarnieri, 2012). An important asset of ?good teaching? is the enhancement of the students' learning motivation. According to Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1993), intrinsic motivation can be achieved if an individual is willing and able to reach his or her goals by a certain action. Thus, motivation is being influenced by an individual's need for autonomy, competence but also by his or her need for social involvement or attachment (Deci & Ryan, 1993). All these factors contributing to learning motivation also depend on situational influences (Schaper, 2004) and on a teaching style focussing on a balance between challenging tasks and the skill level of participants (Csikszentmihalyi & Schiefele, 1993).

In summary, the important factors for education are the teacher (Kraft, 2005; Rindermann, 2001, 2003), the course topic and content (Csikszentmihalyi & Schiefele, 1993; Deci & Ryan, 1993), the social conditions (Deci & Ryan, 1993; Schaper, 2004), the course participants (Kromrey, 1994; Spiel & Gössler, 2000; Rindermann, 2003), the proposed benefit (Rindermann 2001; Schulz, 2004), and the environmental conditions (Reinmann, 2010).

Evaluation or feedback instruments should fulfil the same criteria as psychometric instruments. In the first place they should be objective (i.e., their results should be independent of the person who submits them), reliable (i.e., they should measure the underlying construct as exactly as possible), and valid (i.e., they should measure what they intend to measure) (e.g., Bühner, 2009). Moreover, the instrument should operate economically (i.e., a questionnaire should be as short as possible) and in a practically useful way (e.g., Moosbrugger & Kelava, 2012). The scientific quality of an evaluation instrument is determined by the fact that results from empirical research had contributed to its construction (Mittag & Hager, 2000).

Therefore, the aim of the present study is, to review whether the developed questionnaire fulfils the relevant psychometric quality in regard to reliability (internal consistency) and validity (content and construct validity).

Method

AAP already used a feedback questionnaire that was developed on a "ad-hoc" basis with satisfactorily results, as reported in Panzenböck (2014). In order to improve this part of the feedback process, AAP decided to develop a feedback questionnaire on a scientific basis. The questionnaire was developed by modifying a questionnaire that had been developed by Rindermann (2001, 2003) for the use with undergraduate students at German universities ("Heidelberger Inventar zur Lehrveranstaltung sevaluation (Heidelberg Inventory for the Evaluation of University Courses) ", HILVE II). …

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