As we approach the end of the term, students will be asked to provide feedback to instructors using U-M's course evaluation system. At CRLT, we often hear from faculty and GSIs who are discouraged about a number of issues related to student ratings, including the tone of some written comments, relatively low response rates, and uncertainty about how best to use the results productively. This post provides some resources for each of these concerns.
- Comments are intended to provide instructors with feedback to inform future iterations of their courses.
- Specific constructive feedback is more useful than vague critiques or praise (see examples provided in the handout).
- Comments not related to student learning (especially insults or comments on an instructor’s appearance) are not helpful and actually diminish the value of their feedback.
- This webpage from Lehigh University’s Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning offers eight suggestions for interpreting ratings results, including looking for general trends and overlooking outliers, focusing on elements of the evaluation that matter most, and choosing one or two areas of improvement to focus on.
- This page from IUPUI’s teaching center offers guidance for reviewing the numeric scores and the written comments, and then thinking through how best to proceed.
- This edition of Essays on Teaching Excellence outlines a process for sorting written comments by overall rating and then analyzing the results based on patterns identified in the comments.