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Collecting Student Feedback

The Teaching Center assists faculty with gathering, interpreting, and making improvements to teaching based on several types of student feedback: midterm course surveys, small group instructional diagnoses, and student opinion of teaching surveys.

Conducting Midterm Course Surveys

The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching offers opt-in automated midterm course surveys.  Midterm course survey data provides instructors with timely feedback that can uncover barriers to student learning and can assist instructors in knowing which teaching methods are working and whether adjustments should be made (Diamond, 2004). Discussing the results with students provides an opportunity for open dialogue between instructor and student, emphasizing a shared ownership of teaching and learning. (Payette & Brown, 2018) “The timely correction of students’ concerns through the implementation of midcourse corrections affords both the instructor and students the opportunity to change the direction of the teaching and learning of the course for the improvement of both constituents.” (Harris, 2013)

Midterm course survey research has shown that conducting midterm evaluations and acting on the results has a positive impact on end of term feedback. Conducting midterm evaluations can lead to higher ratings on end-of-year surveys (Cohen, 1980), improved student perception of the value of the process (Sviniki, 2001), and allows students to become more familiar and adept at completing meaningful evaluations (Lewis, 2001).

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)

SGID is an interactive, focus group-like formative assessment technique used to gather more detailed, qualitative student feedback than could be collected via student survey. If you request an SGID, a teaching consultant would visit your class for about 30 minutes and use an established protocol that involves your students working in small groups to respond to questions about what assists with their learning, what impedes their learning, and what you as the instructor could do to improve their learning in the course. Following the SGID, the teaching consultant would produce a short report summarizing results and schedule a consultation with you to make recommendations based on findings. If you would like to schedule an SGID, please contact the Teaching Center at teaching@pitt.edu no later than two weeks prior to when you would like someone to visit your class.

Resources and Readings for Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)

The Teaching Center’s SGID Protocol

Clark, D. J., Redmond, M. V. (1982). Small group instructional diagnosis: Final report. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Department of Biology.

This report details the process of developing the SGID procedure, its steps, and the results of using it in 130 classes and faculty workshops at the University of Washington. A comparison of responses between students who participated in SGIDs and those who did not revealed significant improvement in motivation amongst students in the SGID group.

Coffman, S. J. (1991). Improving your teaching through small-group diagnosis. College Teaching, 39(2), 80-82. doi:10.1080/87567555.1991.9925493 (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)

In this short article, Coffman briefly describes the SGID protocol, how it differs from other methods of instructor or course evaluation, and how SGID results can be used to improve teaching.

Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys

The Teaching Center conducts end-of-term student opinion of teaching surveys during the last three weeks of classes. Schools and departments establish their own policies pertaining to who is surveyed, survey questions, and who receives access to results. Teaching Center staff can assist schools and departments with developing practices for the interpretation and use of teaching survey results and can help instructors analyze their results and make improvements to teaching based on data.

Resources and Readings for Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys

The Teaching Center’s OMET Teaching Surveys page includes information about:

  • how to use your teaching survey dashboard to verify active surveys
  • how to add survey questions, check response rates, and access results
  • general information about OMETs
  • instructional documents
  • information on increasing response rates
  • administrator resources
  • important dates

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The Teaching Center assists faculty with gathering, interpreting, and making improvements to teaching based on several types of student feedback: midterm course surveys, small group instructional diagnoses, and student opinion of teaching surveys.

Conducting Midterm Course Surveys

The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching offers opt-in automated midterm course surveys.  Midterm course survey data provides instructors with timely feedback that can uncover barriers to student learning and can assist instructors in knowing which teaching methods are working and whether adjustments should be made (Diamond, 2004). Discussing the results with students provides an opportunity for open dialogue between instructor and student, emphasizing a shared ownership of teaching and learning. (Payette & Brown, 2018) “The timely correction of students’ concerns through the implementation of midcourse corrections affords both the instructor and students the opportunity to change the direction of the teaching and learning of the course for the improvement of both constituents.” (Harris, 2013)

Midterm course survey research has shown that conducting midterm evaluations and acting on the results has a positive impact on end of term feedback. Conducting midterm evaluations can lead to higher ratings on end-of-year surveys (Cohen, 1980), improved student perception of the value of the process (Sviniki, 2001), and allows students to become more familiar and adept at completing meaningful evaluations (Lewis, 2001).

Resources and Readings

Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)

SGID is an interactive, focus group-like formative assessment technique used to gather more detailed, qualitative student feedback than could be collected via student survey. If you request an SGID, a teaching consultant would visit your class for about 30 minutes and use an established protocol that involves your students working in small groups to respond to questions about what assists with their learning, what impedes their learning, and what you as the instructor could do to improve their learning in the course. Following the SGID, the teaching consultant would produce a short report summarizing results and schedule a consultation with you to make recommendations based on findings. If you would like to schedule an SGID, please contact the Teaching Center at teaching@pitt.edu no later than two weeks prior to when you would like someone to visit your class.

Resources and Readings

  • The Teaching Center’s SGID Protocol
  • Clark, D. J., Redmond, M. V. (1982). Small group instructional diagnosis: Final report. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Department of Biology. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED217954.pdf

    This report details the process of developing the SGID procedure, its steps, and the results of using it in 130 classes and faculty workshops at the University of Washington. A comparison of responses between students who participated in SGIDs and those who did not revealed significant improvement in motivation amongst students in the SGID group.

  • Coffman, S. J. (1991). Improving your teaching through small-group diagnosis. College Teaching, 39(2), 80-82. doi:10.1080/87567555.1991.9925493

    In this short article, Coffman briefly describes the SGID protocol, how it differs from other methods of instructor or course evaluation, and how SGID results can be used to improve teaching.

Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys

The Teaching Center conducts end-of-term student opinion of teaching surveys during the last three weeks of classes. Schools and departments establish their own policies pertaining to who is surveyed, survey questions, and who receives access to results. Teaching Center staff can assist schools and departments with developing practices for the interpretation and use of teaching survey results and can help instructors analyze their results and make improvements to teaching based on data.

Resources

OMET Teaching Surveys: This Teaching Center website page includes information about:

  • how to use your teaching survey dashboard to verify active surveys
  • how to add survey questions, check response rates, and access results
  • general information about OMETs
  • instructional documents
  • information on increasing response rates
  • administrator resources
  • important dates

Gathering More Meaningful Feedback on Student Opinion of Teaching Surveys by the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching lists tips for teaching students how to offer more constructive feedback on teaching surveys.

Preparing Students to Take Course Evaluations – Tips for Faculty by Elizabeth Carney, Ph.D of the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, Washington State University. This short tip sheet provides instructors with several specific talking points to use when discussing opinion of teaching surveys with students, as well as some examples to help clarify the difference between giving constructive and nonconstructive feedback on open-ended questions.

Svinicki, M.D. (2001). Encouraging your students to give feedback. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 87, 17-24.

This chapter includes information about how to improve the quality of the feedback students give on teaching surveys.

Talking with Students about Evaluations by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching includes several proactive strategies that instructors can take to help prepare students to provide meaningful feedback on student opinion of teaching surveys.

How to Read a Student Evaluation of Your Teaching: This 2011 article by David Perlmutter, published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, concisely covers some general best practices for reading, learning from, and using student opinion of teaching data.

Interpreting Data from Student Evaluations was created by the University of Washington. Review this site for information on how instructional context might affect student ratings, how to interpret survey results, and what to do if you think students’ ratings are biased.

Linse, A. R. (2017). Interpreting and using student ratings data: Guidance for faculty serving as administrators and on evaluation committees. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 54, 94-106. doi:10.1016/j.stueduc.2016.12.004 (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)

Linse briefly summarizes 80 years of research on student opinion of teaching surveys to identify common uses and misuses of survey data and to make recommendations for use best practices for administrators and faculty.

Aleamoni, L.M. (1999). Student rating myths versus research facts: From 1924 to 1998. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 13(2), 153-166. doi: 10.1023/A:1008168421283 (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)

Aleamoni examines 16 common myths about student opinion of teaching surveys against 74 years of early research to determine their veracity.

Benton, S.L. & Cashin, W.E. (2014). Student ratings of teaching: A summary of research and literature. IDEA Paper #50. IDEA.

In this short report, Benton and Cashin summarize research on student opinion of teaching surveys from the 1970s through 2010 to identify important themes.

Linse, A. R. (2017). Interpreting and using student ratings data: Guidance for faculty serving as administrators and on evaluation committees. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 54, 94-106. doi:10.1016/j.stueduc.2016.12.004 (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)

Linse briefly summarizes 80 years of research on student opinion of teaching surveys to identify common uses and misuses of survey data and to make recommendations for use best practices for administrators and faculty.

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