Evaluation is the collection, analysis and interpretation of data. It can serve to broaden knowledge, to observe or control and to further develop offers, measures, programmes, etc.. Not only must data be collected in a meaningful way, it must also be checked whether the collected data adequately represent the object they examine. Data can and must therefore be generated in different ways to be appropriate to the purpose and subject of review. Besides the very common standardised, quantitative data collection (questionnaires), there are numerous other ways of generating data that can and must be considered depending on the goal and purpose.
The collection and evaluation of information on student satisfaction with courses, degree courses, the organisation of examinations or, especially in music universities, important surrounding conditions such as practice opportunities or individually designed degree course options, are partly prescribed for universities in order to obtain the necessary accreditations for their degree courses or for the university. However, this information should not only serve this purpose, but also contribute to developments, changes or serve as a basis for maintaining proven structures. The results of data surveys of students must be perceived and discussed for this purpose. Where it seems necessary, sensible or possible, appropriate measures should be derived from the student survey.
Overall, the various evaluations are intended to contribute to the conversation about quality in teaching, about what constitutes good teaching at a music university. The exchange about the expectations of students and teachers towards each other should be strengthened.
The requirements for quantitative surveys in particular within the framework of student surveys, the implementation, evaluation and usability of the collected data are based on the experience of research universities and universities of applied sciences. As a rule, quantitative surveys require a large number of participants in order to prevent distortions caused by individual, divergent assessments. In music universities, the number of participants in surveys, as is common in research universities and universities of applied sciences, is not achievable. Nevertheless, data can also be collected and meaningfully analysed here, and students can also be interviewed in this way, although the narrower limits of the producibility and the informative value of data from very small groups must be taken into account.
Above all, the requirement for anonymity is much more difficult to fulfil at a small, specialised university with few students in the individual degree courses than at research universities and universities of applied sciences.
A degree course is made up of many individual blocks which, when well coordinated, each contribute to success – a good course leads to passing exams, good supervision leads to successful Bachelor’s and Master’s theses, good teaching leads to confidence in the subject, and so on. To have each of these blocks evaluated by all students would lead to a continuous survey. Evaluation must be used sensibly and in a measured way to prevent overstimulation and thus indifference.
Results of evaluations are obtained at different levels, course level, module level, degree level or university level. In addition, evaluations can generate results for subject-specific courses or for a specific student group (class of a teacher). The results should then be interpreted and discussed at this level. In addition, the results can be opened up to further discussion at a higher level of aggregation. Results of individual evaluations as well as an overview report are published regularly or as they arise in the university.