There are at least two ways that student course reports can be made more useful, providing a sound basis and direction for teaching improvement efforts:
- Combining with Self-Evaluation Before reading student reports for a particular course, perform a brief self-evaluation. Even 15 minutes of reflection on your teaching goals, evidence of student learning, what went well, and what did not go well in the course can better guide your interpretation of student ratings, helping you decide what is more important and less important to address.
- Analyzing Student Course Reports Systematically Try separating them into piles of high and low ratings of the course or of your teaching. Then within those piles, look for patterns in comments or student demographics that might explain the differences in perspective. The outcome of this analysis should be a few areas or issues for improvement or further exploration.
Once some areas have been targeted for refinement, strategies or modifications in teaching methods may not be immediately obvious. Consider consulting with colleagues in your discipline who have been recognized as effective teachers. In addition, the Morgan Center has a large resource library and the Director can point you toward web resources. In addition, individual consultations can be arranged with the Morgan Center to review course report results and develop a feasible action plan.
The following resources are highly recommended and provide details on each of the above suggestions:
Getting the Most Out of Your Student Ratings of Instruction (Association for Psychological Science)