Seeking mid-semester feedback from your students is an assessment technique conducted by an outside facilitator or on one’s own. It is usually conducted at midterm or earlier so that changes can be made during the second half of the course. The purpose is to give instructors reasonable suggestions for improving their courses. The process works best if instructors commit to making small changes if student feedback warrants them.
The process has four steps:
- The instructor arranges a date and provides for specific questions to be asked.
- On the day of the assessment, the instructor introduces the facilitator as someone who is there at his or her request to elicit feedback about the course. The instructor then leaves the room. After a brief overview of the process, the facilitator asks students to answer questions on an index card or half-sheet of paper. Students have 3-5 minutes to write their responses to the instructor-provided questions. Often, the following questions work well: What is the instructor doing that helps you learn? What could the instructor do differently to help you learn more? Anything else you’d like to say. At this point, the written responses can be collected and the facilitator leaves the room. The facilitator might also elicit verbal responses from the students to get a quick consensus. The process takes 15-20 minutes.
- Several days after the classroom visit, the instructor receives a written summary of the class responses to the questions. The facilitator and instructor might also meet or talk by phone about the results.
- The instructor then discusses with the class the results to clarify what can or can't be changed.
The assessment works without an outside facilitator. Use the same steps described above, but don’t ask students to talk about their responses. Collect the index cards or half-sheets of paper, summarize the results, and close the loop by talking with the class about changes that can or cannot be made.
How much time does it take?
About 15 minutes in class to collect student feedback and some later class time for the instructor to discuss results with students and with the facilitator. The facilitator should plan on an hour or two to write the summary.
When does it occur?
It can occur anytime, but midterm or earlier is optimal.
How do instructors use the results?
To make small changes in instruction. To confirm the positive things teachers are already doing.
To request an appointment, e-mail Meg Skinner, ECTL Director: firstname.lastname@example.org