Obtaining feedback from your learners about your teaching is vital in helping you to improve and refine your instruction. One way to gather such feedback is through a survey. End of semester evaluations assist in improving instruction by making adjustments to teaching practices and content for the following term. Surveys can also be administered earlier in the semester to solicit information that can help you make changes prior to the conclusion of the course.
Areas of Evaluation
Instructional Strategies – This area focuses on gathering information about strategies and actions used during the course to engage students. In other words, were the assignments appropriately challenging, based on real-world problems and situations, purposeful and worthwhile learning, and meaningful and interesting. Questions on surveys should help to determine whether techniques used are having the desired impact on students’ learning. Responses to question can also identify the challenges your students might be having – some of which may be related to instruction or perhaps to course content and the nature of assessments.
Teacher Effectiveness – Are you as a teacher able to cultivate thinking skills, stimulate interest in the subject, and motivate students to learn? Do you employ a variety of methods in order for this to occur in your learning environment? Do you present material well and make the subject interesting? Finally, do you “know your stuff”? Are you knowledgeable about what you are teaching? These are all questions to consider when designing survey questions. Both areas above can provide specific feedback to adjust teaching practices.
Course Evaluation – These questions focus on students’ overall satisfaction with the course and content. Were the course objectives met and did the students get out of the course what they expected to get or learn? This can help instructors to refine content, assignments, and tests. (If you are also using online assessments, the item analysis feature can provide information about the extent to which learning outcomes were met).
These areas do overlap and can be similar in some ways but the information obtained from such surveys can be invaluable.
Motivating Students to Complete Evaluations
To motivate students to complete end-of-course evaluations and to provide useful feedback through those evaluations, instructors should talk with their students about the importance of course evaluations and how those evaluations are used.
Inform students that you are the primary audience for their feedback, but that others including school administrators will read them. Tell them that you want their honest and constructive feedback, and that you use student feedback to make improvements to your teaching and courses. Encourage them to write comments and to be specific. Often students will complete the Likert-scale questions but will not take the time to write comments. And finally, remind them that the surveys are anonymous and that you will not be able to see any of their evaluations until after final grades have been submitted.
ScriptoPro allows instructors to create feedback forms that can contain a mix of quantitative (also called Likert-scale) questions and qualitative (free-response) questions.