October 8, 2013
Use student mid-course feedback to improve teaching and end-of-term evaluations
Request formative feedback on teaching and assignments to identify areas where you might improve your course design or teaching strategies. Faculty can use mid-course feedback to modify assignments, refine course structure, and adjust their approaches to interacting with students to improve student learning in their current course. If an instructor seeks feedback from students through a mid-course evaluation, students enrolled that term can benefit from improvements the instructor implements during the term. Moreover, instructors frequently discover that student comments and numerical ratings on end-of-course evaluations improve when they include a mid-course feedback activity (Bubb, et al., 2013). Five instructors, ranging in experience from recent Ph.D. through full Professor, implemented a variety of mid-course evaluations, using anonymous feedback through index cards, minute questions, on-line surveys, or focus groups facilitated by teaching center staff. These instructors describe the changes they introduced to their classes based on student feedback, describe the improvements they observed in student learning on assessments administered in the second half of the term, and describe significant improvements in numerical ratings they received on end-of-term course evaluations and corroborated in the written comments from students. Instructors who use mid-course formative feedback from students report that students frequently express their gratitude for the instructor’s interest in their thoughts about class structure and class activities on end-of course evaluations.
CUTLA supports several types of formative feedback on teaching. Instructors can join Teaching Partners and obtain meaningful feedback from a faculty peer. Teaching Partners learn strategies for conducting effective classroom observations before they visit one another’s classes. Faculty can request a classroom observation or Small Group Instructional Diagnostic (focus group of students) by the CUTLA Director. CUTLA provides resources to help faculty design and administer anonymous surveys (either paper-based or electronically) and elicit formative mid-term feedback from students.
Bubb, D., K., Schraw, G., James, D. E., Brents, B. G., Kaalberg, K. F., Marchand, G. C., Amy, P., & Cammett, A. (2013, May-June). Making the case for formative assessment: How it improves student engagement and faculty summative course evaluations. Assessment Update, 25 (3), 8-9, 12
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