Getting Started with End-of-Semester Course Evaluations

Supplement department course evaluation forms with additional questions that address your needs.

Svinicki & McKeachie (2011, pg. 341) suggest using two types of questions:

  • Those dealing with the learning goals.
  • Those addressing specific behaviors.

Example questions:

  • Learning goals questions: "My knowledge of 'x' has increased as a result of taking this course."
  • Specific behaviors: "I became more interested in this field as a result of taking this class," or "The instructor was organized."

How to Collect Student Evaluations in Your Class

  • Explain to students that you are collecting their anonymous feedback to assess how they are experiencing/have experienced the course. Share with students that you value their feedback and will use it when making course design decisions.
  • Guide students on giving useful and effective feedback. For example, if they did not like something, ask them to explain why or suggest what they might have preferred. Ask them to also share what is going well.
  • Provide class time for students to give their feedback.
  • Review the completed student evaluations for common themes and organize your feedback into three categories:
    • Those you can change this semester (for example, the turnaround time on homework).
    • Those that must wait until the next time the course is offered (for example, the reading or texts).
    • Those that you either cannot, or for pedagogical reasons, will not change (for example, the number of exams or quizzes).
  • Share your findings with students.
    • For mid-semester evaluations, you can do this in a subsequent class. Let them know what the general feedback was, and what changes you will or will not make along with your rationale. Following through with modifications based on mid-semester feedback leads to improved teaching and, therefore, better end-of-semester evaluations.
    • For end-of-semester feedback, you can share findings with new students the next semester. This communicates the value you place on student experiences and may enhance student motivation to provide you with effective feedback.