Last week I posted on strategies we can use to improve online teaching evaluation return rates. This article, however, makes a very important point;

“The usual design of [teaching evaluations] gives students the opportunity [to] focus on the shortcomings of the course and the instructor, without any acknowledgement of their own role in the learning process.”

Reciprocal evaluation seeks to force students to make the connection between their learning and their own contributions to their learning process. I love this! The OSU-Cascades Learning Lab initiated an effort to engage students in our math and science courses in this thinking with the use of the Learning Strategies Inventory (attached). This particular inventory gets students thinking about the connection between their own study strategies and their course grade. (We will share the results from this effort at the end of the year).

As the article states, reciprocal evaluation can help to contextualize teaching evaluations by distinguishing between students who have done their part and demonstrated a commitment to their own learning process and those who have not.

Suggested questions using a Likert scale include:

  • I contributed extensively to class discussion.
  • I worked extremely hard in this course.
  • I prepared drafts of my assignments and asked the instructor for feedback.
  • When I didn’t understand I kept my concerns to myself.
  • When I didn’t understand I attended my instructor’s office hours.
  • When I didn’t understand I attended the Learning Lab for tutoring.

If you need more suggestions for specific study skills you could include on a reciprocal evaluation, the Learning Strategies Inventory (McGuire) has some other ideas. Free form responses from students would also work well and may provide more valuable insight into a student’s thinking about their own efforts.

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