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The Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching, and University Assessment

Suggestions for Constructing Course Evaluation Questions

As we move toward digital course evaluations, it has become important to consider the length, quality and redundancy of each course evaluation, in order to reduce student fatigue and increase the quality of the information that students provide to instructors and the University about their course experiences. Remember that full-time students will often fill out 5 course evaluations. It is recommended that departments and instructors each add no more than 5 items to prevent surveys from becoming overly lengthy. The following suggestions are offered for your consideration.

  1. Eliminate redundancies by considering context and ordering
  2. Assess student perceptions of their learning
  3. Evaluate unique forms of pedagogy (including online instruction)
  4. Evaluate dimensions of teaching not captured by other questions
  5. Follow general guidelines for effective survey questions
Each of these is explored in more detail below.

1. Eliminate Redundancies by Considering Context and Ordering

The first consideration in reducing length and redundancy is to be aware of the order and context in which the questions appear. Question blocks appear in this order for each course: Department, Division, University, Instructor.

University Course Evaluation Questions

The scale for ALL questions is 0-4, with higher numbers being better.

    Classroom Climate
  • My instructor welcomed students' questions.
  • My instructor offered opportunities for active participation to understand course content.
  • My instructor demonstrated concern for student learning.
    Student Learning
  • In this course I learned to analyze complex problems or think about complex issues.
  • My appreciation for this topic has increased as a result of this course.
  • I have gained an understanding of this course material.

SEAS Divisional Questions

The objectives, expectations, requirements and content of this course were clearly stated.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The contribution of this course to my education is apparent.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Expectations for student achievement are reasonable.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
My prerequisites adequately prepared me for this course.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
On-campus laboratories used for this course were safe and clean.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The textbook(s) was an effective learning tool.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I found this course intellectually challenging.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Overall, I would rate this course as excellent.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I have taken the prerequisites for this course.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I consistently prepared for this class.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I regularly participated in classroom discussions and activities.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I sought help from the professor when I needed it.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I consistently attended classes.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The average number of hours/week that I spent on this course outside of class was...8 or More, 6 to < 8, 4 to < 6, 2 to < 4, 0 to < 2
The grade I expect to receive is:...A, B, C, D, F
Overall, I would rate my effort in learning for this course as excellent.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
At the start of this course, the professor clearly defined the method of grade determination.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The stated objectives, expectations, and content were consistently pursued.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Adequate advance notice of tests was given.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Assignments and tests were administered and graded fairly and consistently.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Classroom activities were effective tools for learning.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Homework and other assignments were effective instruments for learning.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The lab activities were effective instruments for learning.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor consistently conducted classes at scheduled meeting times.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor explained theories, concepts and applications clearly.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was interested in and enthusiastic about the subject.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor welcomed questions and responded appropriately.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor showed respect and concern for all students.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor kept the learning environment free of prejudice.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was receptive to student suggestions and comments.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was available outside of class during scheduled times.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was helpful outside of class.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor effectively facilitated learning.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Overall, I would rate this professor's teaching effectiveness as excellent.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Please indicate the strengths of this course:
Please indicate the strengths of the professor that facilitated your learning:
Please give suggestions for changes that could be made to the course or methods of instruction that would improve your learning:
Other comments: Use this space to reply to any open-ended questions posed by your professor.

CAS Divisional Questions

The course was well organized.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor presents content clearly and understandably.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The graded work fairly tests the course content.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The course was intellectually challenging.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Upon reflection, this instructor is an effective teacher.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A

FSB Divisional Questions

I took responsibility for helping to make this course a positive learning experience.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
I attended class.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
I prepared for class.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
When I attended class, I was actively engaged.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
I stayed up-to-date in the course work.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
I sought help when I needed it.Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always, N/A
The instructor held students to high academic standards.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor effectively challenged me to think and to learn.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor was well prepared.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Examinations and/or other graded components covered course concepts in a challenging manner.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor showed enthusiasm for the subject.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
I felt free to ask questions and to make comments in class.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor dealt with questions and comments effectively.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The instructor was generally available during office hours (Answer N/A is you did not use office hours).Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
What is your overall rating of the instructor?Unsatisfactory, Poor, Average, Good, Excellent
Major:ACC, DSC, ECO, FIN, HR, M&O, Interdisc Bus. Mgt., MIS, MKT, Supply Chain, Outside FSB
Classification:Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, Graduate
Course required for major?Yes, No
Expected Course Grade:A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F
Which aspects of this course/instructor led to a valuable learning experience?
Which aspects of this course/instructor need to be improved to increase the value of the learning experience?
Please write any additional comments or suggestions.
I rate my instructor's teaching as effective.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The course was well organized.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A

SEHS Divisional Questions

Which aspects of this course/instructor led to a valuable learning experience?
Which aspects of this course/instructor need to be improved to increase the value of the learning experience?
Other comments regarding the instructor and/or the course.

SCA Divisional Questions

The objectives, expectations, requirements and content of this course were clearly stated.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was interested in and enthusiastic about the subject.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
This professor used class time in an effective manner.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The grading system was clearly explained and consistent with the objectives of the course.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor was available outside of class during scheduled times.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Students in the course were free to comment, ask questions, and express ideas.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
The professor provided an inclusive and respectful learning environment.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
This course has challenged me to think.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Overall, the professor effectively facilitated learning.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Overall, I would rate my own effort in this course as superior.Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree, N/A
Please comment about any of the preceding questions and/or offer suggestions for the improvement of this course.

2. Assess Student Perceptions of Their Learning

We recommend that departments (and instructors) consider asking course evaluations about the degree to which students perceive that this course has helped them achieve either program learning outcomes or course learning outcomes. For programs, this can serve as a supplemental indirect assessment measure that can be reported in addition to the direct assessment you do of student work.
Helpful example of question templates/formats from the Student Assessment of their Learning Gains instrument can be found here.

3. Evaluate Unique Forms of Pedagogy (Including Online Instruction)

Many disciplines have their own "signature pedagogy," the way that practitioners think the discipline is best taught, e.g., science labs or art studios or small discussion sections. Department or instructor evaluation questions are an excellent opportunity to ask the questions that are unique to your form of pedagogy.
Some examples of questions targeted to specific teaching practices from the Office of Educational Assessment, University of Washington can be found here.

Miami is currently expanding its online instruction and this method has its own unique features to evaluate.  MU's Advanced Learning Technologies suggests you choose 4-5 from the following list:

  • Prior to taking this course, I have completed ____ for-credit online / hybrid courses.
    • 0, 1, 2-3, 4-5, 5 or more
  • The online course was intuitive and easy to navigate.
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • I was familiar with the Niihka features, and other technologies used, prior to taking this course. 
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • I was able to organize my time to complete course requirements in a timely manner.
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • I was satisfied with the frequency of instructor communication and assignment feedback. 
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • The instructions provided in the online course were clear an easy to follow.
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • Course materials in the online course were well organized and easy to locate. 
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • The course materials and activities provided in the online course gave me a good understanding of course topics.
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • I am learning at least as much taking the course online as I would in a traditional classroom setting.
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree
  • Based on this course experience, I would take future Miami courses online.  
    • Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree

4. Evaluate Dimensions of Teaching Not Captured by Other Questions

You may also find, when reflecting on the university and divisional questions, that they don't capture some dimension(s) of teaching that are important to your department or your specific class. Perhaps you really value some aspect of the teaching-learning experience and find that is not captured by university or divisional questions. Or perhaps you want to know whether students found something that you changed about your class to be useful.
The "Student Ratings of Teaching Effectiveness: Creating an Action Plan" document from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Syracuse University is especially good at outlining dimensions of teaching, noting some questions that tap into them, and suggesting what to do if you are having trouble in one of those areas.

5. Follow General Guidelines for Effective Survey Questions

As scholars, we all know that how you frame the question is fundamental to the answer you get. The same thing is true of course evaluation questions. If you are writing your own questions, you do not have to re-invent the wheel of how to construct survey questions.
The first two links are good "quick start"guides; the last is more thorough and provides examples.
Writing Survey Questions - Tip Sheet from Survey Monkey
Tips for Writing Evaluation Questions - Blog entry from Campus Labs
"Good Practice: Suggestions for Development and Analysis of Course Evaluations" - Center for Teaching Effectiveness, University of Delaware

6. For More Help

The Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Assessment is willing to help you, especially with how to turn your learning outcomes into course evaluation questions: celtua@miamioh.edu. The Office of Institutional Research has the local experts on general survey construction: oir@miamioh.edu

Links to source material

Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning, University of Delaware
Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, Syracuse University
Office of Educational Assessment, University of Washington
The Student Assessment of their Learning Gains instrument
Campus Labs, Part of the Higher One Family
Survey Monkey

 

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