Weekly or Mid-Semester Evaluations
Additional strategies exist for determining instructional effectiveness based on student input. These typically exist in the form of feedback and student evaluations (e.g., daily question and exit tickets). If the purpose of student evaluation and feedback is to measure student satisfaction resulting in improved learning and success, these additional strategies allow an instructor to quickly make instructional adjustments to ensure greater student success while concurrently providing students an ability to have a “voice” in their learning experience. The key to any feedback is that the instructor should immediately focus on improvements to address student concerns.
Weekly and/or Mid-semester feedback:Similar to the end-of-semester SFS, weekly and mid-semester feedback solicits anonymous student input earlier and more frequently during a semester. This feedback is often brief and asks students to reflect upon the strengths and challenges of the instructional practices used in the course (e.g., lecture style, hands-on activities, online videos, class discussions) and instructional materials (textbook, video, other supplemental materials). Students also are able to provide feedback on any other topic they think is relevant. What is important to note is that students are asked to note a strength for any and every challenge they offer. This increases the constructive nature of feedback for continuous improvement.
Anonymous letter request:Anonymous feedback letters may be completed at any time during the semester but most effective when administered mid-semester. This letter allows students to write an anonymous note to their instructor that offers qualitative and constructive input on whatever may be of concern (positive or negative) regarding their class. The anonymous mid-semester letter allows students to voice their concerns, give comments, compliments and criticisms in a more relaxed fashion. Immediately following the evaluation, the instructor should take time to discuss student comments, both positive and negative. If the instructor finds that a negative comment from students is valid, s/he can reassure them that areas that deserve modification will be changed for the remainder of the semester. If such a change
is not possible, the instructor should provide an explanation for their continued implementation. Instructors are encouraged to retain these anonymous letters so they can be used during their annual performance evaluation.
More Traditional Feedback Assessment Survey Option:For instructors who prefer a more traditional method of obtaining feedback from students, a list of sample questions is provided that focus on particular aspects of the course, the instructor’s performance in addition to questions about the student’s performance in the course to date. Sample questions target the following areas and/or response categories: (1) Instructor/GTA-specific questions; (2) course-specific questions, and (3) Student self-evaluation questions. For this assessment of one’s teaching performance, instructors may write their own questions or may choose from sample questions by clicking the following link: Sample Questions Faculty Can Use for Mid-semester Evaluations (pdf)*. While the majority of sample questions from all three categories reflect a more traditional feedback survey format consisting of forced choice response categories ranging from (5) strongly agree to (1) strongly disagree; there are several questions that are open-ended. Whatever format of questions you choose, we recommend selecting no more than 10 Likert-type questions and minimally three open-ended questions for this assessment. Using the sample questions, instructors may create their own survey using a customizable form included here in .pdf format. To download a customizable survey form, click here: Mid-semester Customizable Survey (pdf)*. Once you have downloaded the form to your computer and opened it in Adobe Acrobat, you will find several fields where the instructor can type in survey questions. Once you have filled in all of the questions you would like to ask, resave the form using a new filename, for example: Davis-MATH-5300-survey.pdf. You can make the form available to students using Canvas or you may provide them with a link so they can download the form from UTA Box. Although students may complete the form digitally, you may also have them complete a printed copy of the survey in class. If you ask students to email the completed surveys, you may request that they email them to a third party, for example, to the chair of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers or to a contact person in Faculty Affairs. That person, in turn, will share the completed survey with the faculty person via UTA Box. Care must be taken to assure students’ anonymity when turning in their completed surveys.
Open-ended questions:Another option is to give students open-ended questions and ask them to fill them out anonymously. Sample questions may include but are not limited to:
- Please identify what you consider to be the strengths of the course.
- Please identify area(s) where you think the course could be improved.
- What has helped you learn the most?
- What has not helped you to learn?
- What do you think the instructor could do to make the materials more accessible to you as a student?
- Feedback for other students: What advice would you give to another student who is considering taking this course?
For a copy of a sample survey instrument instructors can use, click here: Anonymous Mid-semester Course Feedback Survey (pdf)*
How do we use student feedback information? If we are asking the right questions, we should have confirmation about what we are doing well and more specific information about needed improvements. It is the latter on which we need to focus. Often, there are simple adjustments we can make (and should make) based on students’ experiences in our class. However, there may be times when there is something we cannot change (and should not). This becomes our opportunity to clarify for students why we engage in certain practices or cover certain content and why it must remain in a course.
* For access to this document, please contact CRTLE at email@example.com