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1 Supplemental Materials How Can I Use Student Feedback to Improve My Teaching? Presented by: Ken Alford, Ph.D. and Tyler Griffin, Ph.D Magna Publications Inc. All rights reserved. It is unlawful to duplicate, transfer, or transmit this program in any manner without written consent from Magna Publications. The information contained in this online seminar is for professional development purposes but does not substitute for legal advice. Specific legal advice should be discussed with a professional attorney.

2 Magna 20- Minute Mentor Improve Through Student Feedback By Tyler Griffin & Ken Alford Sample Mid-Course Evaluation Questions Consider using one or more of the following questions in a mid- course evaluation or develop your own questions that are specific to your course or subject area. Do not give them more than five questions or it will take too much of their time and your effort may backfire (unless you offer point- incentives for completing a longer questionnaire). Also carefully weigh the pros and cons of doing a mid- course survey anonymously or with names attached to the answers. These scored questions can be presented on a scale from 1 to 5. How much do you agree with the following statements? (1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=no opinion, 4=agree, 5=strongly agree) I am glad to be in this class I am putting a lot of effort into this class I am learning a lot in this class I am pleased with the overall quality of this instructor I like this instructor s teaching style I am pleased with the overall quality of this course This course makes me like (insert your subject area) more I would recommend this class to my friends The overall difficulty of this class is appropriate The out- of- class workload is appropriate The assignments are meaningful (not busywork) I want to take more classes in this subject in the future My instructor helps me stay focused throughout the class period My instructor explains things clearly

3 My instructor is fair in grading My instructor is approachable Any student who really tries can succeed in this class Usually, free- response questions prove to contain the most formative feedback. It is here where you will likely receive specific ideas of where to focus your improvement efforts. Consider the following options or questions that are more specific to your class: o What is your favorite thing about this class? o What is your least favorite thing about this class? o What one modification could we make in the course that would help your learning the most? o How do you like the way our classes typically flow? What would you suggest for improvements? o How do you feel about the grading system we are using? What would you suggest? o How helpful and effective have our assignments been? How would you improve them? o How do you feel about the test(s) up to this point? Any suggestions? o What do you plan to do differently to make the last part of the class better than the first?

4 Magna 20- Minute Mentor Improve Through Student Feedback By Tyler Griffin & Ken Alford Student Feedback Considerations Checklist Whether you are a teacher or an administrator, it is important to clearly understand all of the factors listed below so that student evaluations of teaching are not used inappropriately. Identify the various sources and instruments used for collecting student feedback. Consider the pros and cons of each aspect of those instruments as listed below so you can be better informed about what each result actually means. o Was the feedback collected in a formal or informal way? o Was feedback received from a single instrument or from many sources? o Did the instrument have a single type of response (e.g. just likert scale, just free response, or just in- class discussion format) or did it employ two or more question types for triangulation? o Were responses recorded anonymously or openly? o Was the feedback collected only once or were the results longitudinal? o What external factors might have affected student feedback results this term? o What were the students told when asked to give their feedback? Would the results be used as formative opinions ( let s help your teacher find ways to improve ) or was it intended to be summative in nature ( we need to make some decisions regarding your teacher help us know what kind of a job you think he/she has been doing in this course. o Was the instrument administered by the university or by the teacher? o Was it administered electronically or with pen and paper? o Was it administered in class or out of class? o Was the feedback incentivized or unbiased? o What percentage of students participated in the survey? (Many statisticians will not analyze the results if less than 2/3 of the students completed the survey.) 1

5 It is important to remember that student feedback is only one channel of feedback. Peers and administrators can observe to check for quality of content and integrity of material being taught. Teaching and learning experts at your school can observe to check for pedagogical strengths and weaknesses and give formative or summative feedback concerning course design. Assessment experts at your school can give helpful feedback concerning the quality of exams and other assignments. Seriously consider what other instruments or observation strategies could inform a more complete and meaningful discussion about what the students are saying in their feedback? Student evaluations of any kind should be a conversation starter not a conversation conclusion. 2

6 Magna 20- Minute Mentor Improve Through Student Feedback By Tyler Griffin & Ken Alford Recommended Resources Cashin, W. E. (1995). Student Ratings of Teaching: The Research Revisited. IDEA Paper No. 32. Abstract: This paper attempts to summarize the conclusions of the major reviews of the literature on student ratings of teaching. It is an update of a paper by the same name published as IDEA Paper No. 20 from the Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development in Viewing student ratings as data rather than evaluations may help to put them in proper perspective. Studies have considered the multidimensionality of student ratings and their reliability and validity. They have been compared to student learning outcomes, the self- ratings of the instructor, and the ratings of others, and possible sources of bias have been studied. There are probably more studies of student ratings than of all the other data used to evaluate college teaching combined, and there are certainly enough studies to allow some conclusions. In general, student ratings tend to be statistically reliable, valid, and relatively free from bias and need for control. Nevertheless, they are only one source of data about teaching and must be used with multiple sources of data to make judgments about all the components of teaching (Source: Sproule, R. (2000). Student Evaluation of Teaching: A Methodological Critique of Conventional Practices. education policy analysis archives, 8(50), n50. Abstract: Outlines two challenges, one conceptual and one statistical, to those who advocate continuing to use raw student evaluation of teaching data in the determination of teaching effectiveness as part of summative evaluations. Also explores why administrators continue to use such data to determine teaching effectiveness, suggesting that expedience plays a part (Source: epaa.asu.edu/ojs/index.php/epaa/article/download/441/564). Ballantyne, R., Borthwick, J., & Packer, J. (2000). Beyond student evaluation of teaching: Identifying and addressing academic staff development needs. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 25(3), Abstract: Student evaluation of teaching is a commonly accepted means of obtaining feedback on the quality of university teaching. However, its usefulness in contributing to improved teaching performance is dependent on the extent to which staff respond to 1

7 and apply the information obtained in this way. This paper reports the results of a project designed to extend the application of student evaluations by using them as the basis for staff development. Survey findings from 87 staff and 127 students indicate the priorities for academic and course development perceived by each group. Booklets based on these perceived needs were developed by collaborative staff- student groups and made available to enable staff to improve their teaching in response to student evaluations (Source: journalcode=caeh20#.vcbb1suzdcw). Wachtel, H. K. (1998). Student evaluation of college teaching effectiveness: A brief review. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 23(2), Abstract: This paper presents a brief review of the existing research on student written evaluations of the teaching performance of college and university instructors. First, a short historical background is given. Next, arguments are presented which have been advanced for and against the use of student written evaluations as a valid indicator of teaching effectiveness, followed by a discussion of various background characteristics which have been thought to influence student ratings. Student and faculty reaction to the use of student ratings is discussed, and finally suggestions for further investigation are given (Source: advance/items/itemkey/qahnaj6f). Johnson, Valen E., Grade Inflation: A Crisis in College Education (New York: Springer- Verlag New York, Inc., 2003). C Abstract: Grade inflation runs rampant at most colleges and universities, but faculty and administrators are seemingly unwilling to face the problem. This book explains why, exposing many of the misconceptions surrounding college grading. Based on historical research and the results of a yearlong, on- line course evaluation experiment conducted at Duke University during the academic year, the effects of student grading on various educational processes, and their subsequent impact on student and faculty behavior, is examined. Principal conclusions of this investigation are that instructors' grading practices have a significant influence on end-of-course teaching evaluations, and that student expectations of grading practices play an important role in the courses that students decide to take. The latter effect has a serious impact on course enrollments in the natural sciences and mathematics, while the combination of both mean that faculty have an incentive to award high grades, and students have an incentive to choose courses with faculty who do. Grade inflation is the natural consequence of this incentive system. Material contained in this book is essential reading for anyone involved in efforts to reform our postsecondary educational system, or for those who simply wish to survive and prosper in it. (Source: Emphasis added.) 2

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