It’s week 6 so most of us have given at least one major assessment of our students…but have you given them an opportunity to assess YOU? If not, consider a midterm teaching evaluation. Here are some things to consider:

  1. This is a formative assessment. Midterm course evals are a fantastic way for you to glean meaningful feedback from your students on what is working, what isn’t, and what you could still do to help them learn better.
  2. This feedback can (and should) be qualitative as opposed to the mostly quantitative feedback that we receive on eSETs. If you’re like me, you probably skip right to the comments when reading your end-of-course feedback anyway.
  3. These evaluations are not part of your “official” evaluation record; an even better reason to get honest, constructive feedback from your students while you still have time to make changes.
  4. Midterm evaluations demonstrate to your students that you have their best interests in mind, that you are there to help them learn and that you are very interested in how you can do that better.
  5. Research shows that midterm evaluations actually improve end-of-term student evaluations when the feedback leads to changes in the class (McDonnell & Dodd, 2017). When we give students agency to affect change, they are more committed to their learning process.

One of the simplest ways to survey students is using the “Stop, Start, Continue” method described by Hoon et al. (2015) where students are asked what you should STOP doing (what is interfering with their learning), what you should START doing (what would help them learn better), and what you should CONTINUE doing (what are you currently doing that is helping them learn). According to Hoon et al. (2015), this small bit of structure is preferred by students over the free text entry method of feedback that does not ask these three simple guided questions.

Canvas has a great way to administer midterm evaluations using Quiz > Quiz type: Ungraded Survey. This survey can be set to anonymous so that student names are not associated with their responses.

Have you used a midterm evaluation method that has been particularly helpful? Please “leave a reply” and share!

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One thought on “How Is Your Class Going?

  1. Glad you drew attention to this. Been doing it for over ten years and it has always proved invaluable. For example, “stop using red markers its hard to read,” is something we’d never notice as instructors and is a small change that immediately improves the classroom experience. Plus, including thoughtful changes mid-flight is sooo much better than after the students have left the course.

    I call it “agile teaching.”

    Some best practices:
    – do it in week 4 or 5
    – don’t do it immediately after a major assessment
    – provide students class time to do it. (Increase response rate and quality)
    – prefer an on-paper “keep-stop-start” form – no names on the paper
    – emphasize anonymity, the value you place on the feedback, and ask them to be critical
    – emphasize “tell me what is/not/would be working *to support your learning*” and avoid “give me your feedback,” in order to obtain feedback on the course, not personal gripes toward the instructor
    – have a thick skin and a sense of humor


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