End-of-term student course evaluations are important for a range of reasons, but they only provide useful information if a significant number of students contribute responses. How can you ensure a high rate of return from your students?
Theresa Tinkle, Associate Chair of the U-M English department, recently gathered data from her colleagues that helps answer that question. She polled instructors in her department who regularly get a response rate of at least 80 percent on standardized student ratings to find out what their secrets might be. As it turns out, there's not much of a secret. The best practices she's compiled are relatively simple:
Telling students their feedback is important and can help improve the course in the future.
Asking students to bring laptops to class and saving 15 minutes on the final day of class for them to fill out the ratings.
During the evaluation period, checking the 'dashboard' on CTools to find out how many students have completed the ratings form—and then letting the students know what percentage still need to reply. A simple in-class announcement or email reminder encouraging more students to participate can go a long way. (For guidance about using CTools to collect course evaluations, see this link).
In short, if you let students know that you value their feedback and provide easy ways for them to complete course evaluations, they're very likely to respond.
For additional ideas and information about student course evaluations, check out our resources on this page.