Prepared by David Harrison  April 2005
Ruxandra recently surveyed students in our PHY110Y/PHY138Y Laboratory about their opinions regarding the lab. This document summarises the results.
Exactly 600 students participated, which is 52% of the students enrolled in the laboratory.
In the table below, the uncertainties are the standard error of the mean, _{}, i.e. the standard deviation divided by the square root of the number of responses. Blank answers are ignored. The numbers in parentheses were the responses to the same question in last year's evaluation.
Question  Mean ± _{}  

Everything considered, give an overall rating of the
lab by choosing one of the following:
Comment: below we compare this result to previous years in more detail. 
2.89 ± 0.04 (2.87 ± 0.05 ) 

Please compare the Physics lab with other labs you are
taking:

3.30 ± 0.04 (2.95 ± 0.05) 

Are you learning enough from the lab?

2.55 ± 0.03 (2.43 ± 0.04) ) 

Do you get adequate and prompt feedback on the quality
of your work?

2.40 ± 0.04 (2.29 ± 0.04) 

Please rate your demonstrator in terms of his/her
teaching ability and help provided:

2.91 ± 0.05 (2.59 ± 0.04) 

The Guide Sheets for some Core experiments are new, using multimedia, Flash and videos. Other older Guides are only in hardcopy in the lab manual. If you have used both types for Core experiments, please rate the new multimedia Guides as compared with the older Guides:

2.44 ± 0.04 (2.41 ± 0.04) 
Here we compare the overall rating of the laboratory this year to previous years. The numbers assume that the uncertainty in the number of responses is the square root of the number.
Physics Course  This Year  Spring 2004  Spring 2003  Spring 2002  Spring 2001  Spring 1998 

PHY110Y  74.3± 7.0%  71.0 ± 8.1%  55.3 ± 7.7%  62.3 ± 9.0%  77.7 ± 9.1%  55% 
PHY138Y  78.2 ± 4.2%  70.6 ± 3.7%  60.9 ± 4.1%  70.6 ± 3.9%  83.9 ± 4.7%  74% 
Although the overall mean of students responses to this question question was virtually unchanged from last year ( 2.89 ± 0.04 this year; 2.87 ± 0.05 last year), the percentage of students who rated the lab "Excellent", "Good", or "Fair" went up this year. This is because the distribution of answers was different. To the right I show again the histogram for student reponses to the question this year, and also show the histogram from last year's survey. 

Not summarised above is another question from the survey:
What was the most difficult part of the physics labs? Please rate by circling one or several of the following:  

Below, the uncertainties are the square root of the number of responses converted to a percentage, and last year's percentages are in parentheses.
What  Number  Percentage 

Experimental only

118

20 ± 2% (15 ± 2%) 
Experimental and another part

26

4 ± 1% (5 ± 1%) 
Theoretical only

112

19 ± 2% (25 ± 2%) 
Theoretical plus another part

54

9 ± 1% (6 ± 1%) 
Analysis only

282

48 ± 3% (49 ± 3%) 
Analysis plus another part

73

12 ± 1% (7 ± 1%) 
Students who do not know the meaning of "most" and answered all three choices

22

3.7 ± 0.8% (1.5 ± 0.5%) 
There were structural problems with 2 questions traditionally used in this survey, so they are not reported above. The 2 questions were: