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Effective class evaluation begins with designing evaluation tools that ask the right questions for obtaining the information that instructors need to improve their teaching. Other good tips include offering evaluation opportunities to students during the course term as well as at its end so that instructors can make use of the gathered information in current and future courses. Allowing sufficient time for the completion of a class evaluation and taking steps to protect student privacy can help ensure that an instructor will receive useful information from student assessments.
Many colleges and universities offer students a chance to provide feedback by completing a class evaluation for each course that they take. In many cases, the class evaluation is offered at the end of the course term so that students can reflect on their experiences in the course and provide feedback to both their instructor as well as school administrators. Evaluations typically include a number of questions about course curriculum; the efficacy of the instructor; and the pertinence of course assignments, textbooks, and exams. Students may also be offered the opportunity to offer additional comments and feedback as part of the class evaluation.
Schools often develop a standard class evaluation to be used by their instructors and continually reevaluate the questions that it contains. It is important for both instructors and administrators to carefully review the evaluations. If it is noted that students are continually writing additional comments about a particular issue, this may be an indication that that issue should be addressed in an evaluation question.
Some instructors and schools conduct more than one class evaluation during the term. Although this may not be required by school administration, new instructors in particular may wish to offer students the opportunity to provide feedback a few weeks after the term begins or even at midterm. This allows students to offer suggestions to the instructor on how to make the course more effective. Instructors who do offer an early class evaluation may also wish to take the opportunity to speak with students about the evaluation results so as to receive more feedback and come up with ways to immediately improve the course.
In some cases, students may be wary of offering their honest opinion in the evaluations. This is because the student may believe that an instructor will retaliate against him or her for saying something that is negative. Schools should put procedures in place for protecting the anonymity of students in the evaluation process. This may include requiring instructors to appoint a student to collect class evaluations and then have the instructor leave the classroom while evaluations take place. Other options may include allowing students to complete evaluations online through a website that does not report the identity of its users.
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