When you look for the good in others, you’ll discover the best in yourself,

When you look for the bad in others, you’ll never find your weaknesses

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to get good student evaluation

Some inputs:

"Projected a picture of your wife and child on a large screen while the evaluations were being written."

"A colleague who taught a large-lecture format (250 students) introductory logic course always had donuts delivered to the lecture hall the day of class evaluations. (Apparently it worked, to judge by his evaluations.)"

"Let's see: 1) announcing that the final exam will be given before exam week, giving students (and, not incidentally, faculty) exam week off, 2) announcing a curve favorable to grade inflation, 3) carrying the evaluations around for the final two weeks of classes, awaiting a favorable attendance pattern to administer the forms, 4) shifting the final exam to a take-home format, 5) agreeing to drop the lowest exam or quiz grade."

"Taking the entire class out for lunch and distributing the evaluations with dessert. Granted, only works with studio-sized classes, but disgustingly successful nonetheless."


"I had a professor use an ingenious method: he gave us two evaluations.
Step One: He first explained that the feedback on the official form was not as helpful as he wanted, and also took several months to receive (no time to implement any critical feedback before the next term). He also told us that the official form was the one that determined things like salary and tenure.
Step Two: He then gave us an unofficial form (simpler and more subjective) that we were to complete honestly and anonymously, and we were to give it to him that very day.
Step Three: After we had written our comments about his teaching (and gotten any need to vent out of our system), he gave us the official form to complete, seal, and send to the department.
This all appeared like he really wanted feedback from us, and was trying to go around the official system to get it. But what he was actually doing was allowing us to exhaust any strongly critical feelings with the first form... and so when we completed the official form, we were MUCH easier on him."

"Here is how I get the students to hesitate to use the evaluation to vent their spleen:
At about 2/3 of the way through the semester, I hand out a checklist labeled "How I Have Participated in the Teaching-Learning Process." This checklist asks the student to reflect on whether he or she has done things such as 'come to class prepared' or 'stayed tuned in during discussions.' I tell the class that they have a right to evaluate my teaching only if they are willing to take responsibility for their part in the process. I also teach my education students how to give positive feedback along with suggestions for change.
So, what I get are statements of 'positive feedback' as well as 'suggestions for change.' I value the suggestions but really appreciate my students' willingness to learn about appropriate feedback given in a spirit of civility."

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