Getting Mid-Term Feedback
Soliciting and using mid-course feedback benefits both instructors and students. There is ample evidence that students' formative, mid-stream evaluation of courses can lead to meaningful improvements in instruction, student learning outcomes and attitudes, and higher end-of-course student ratings (Cohen, 1980; Marsh & Roche, 1993; Aleamoni, 1999; Hayward, 2002). Stronger outcomes are associated with instructors who discuss the feedback results with the class (vs. reading only), make noticeable changes in the course, and/or consult with a colleague about the results (Cohen, 1980; Aleamoni, 1999; BYU Center for Teaching & Learning, 2009). In comparison to the formal student course reports at the end of the term, which will not benefit them directly, students are often more motivated to provide useful feedback while the course is in progress. Soliciting such feedback signals that instructors are committed to students and are open to change.
Best practice dictates that instructors take time in a subsequent class period, or perhaps via email or on the course web site, to summarize and respond to students' feedback. If results show that the same course activity or instructional method is viewed positively by some students and negatively by others, the latter group may become less negative. In addition, important points can be made about diversity of learning styles. Explain what changes you will make, and what you are unwilling or unable to change and why. It's often a good opportunity to reiterate and clarify course goals and the purposes behind your instructional methods.
Following are a variety of midcourse feedback instruments that can be downloaded and edited to meet your specific needs.
- Knowing how much WPI students value the opportunity to provide mid-course feedback, the Committee on Academic Issues of the Student Government Association has created the following instrument with questions that seemed most relevant from their perspective as students: SGA mid-course feedback questionnaire (.docx file)
- This brief instrument with three open-ended questions solicits both positive feedback and areas for improvement, and also asks students to reflect on their own efforts, reminding them of their responsibility for their own learning: Open-ended questionnaire (.docx file)
- This survey has multiple choice questions addressing important aspects of teaching mechanics, organization, and interaction with students. This instrument could be a good choice for instructors looking for more specific feedback or for those with little ability to make immediate changes in response to open-ended feedback: Nuts and bolts questionnaire (.docx file)
Aleamoni, L. M. (1999). Student rating myths versus research facts from 1924-1998. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 13(2), 153-166.
Brigham Young University Center for Teaching & Learning (2009). Poster presented at the POD Network Conference, Houston, TX, October 29-31, 2009.
Cohen, P. A. (1980). Effectiveness of student-rating feedback for improving college instruction: A meta-analysis of findings. Research in Higher Education, 13, 321-341.
Hayward, P. A. (2002). Developing ourselves through the use of midsemester evaluation. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Georgia Communication Association (Valdosta, GA, February 15-16, 2002). Retrieved November 17, 2009 from ERIC database.
Marsh, H.W. & Roche, L. (1993). The use of students' evaluations and an individually structured intervention to enhance university teaching effectiveness. American Educational Research Journal, 30(1), 217-251.