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Increase Response Rates and Get Meaningful Feedback

Here are some suggestions that can help achieve higher response rates and get more meaningful feedback from your students. Research shows that when teachers ask students to provide feedback and explain how it’s used, students will be more like to complete the survey. Instructors should also provide students with examples of what good feedback is and opportunities throughout the term to practice giving feedback. You can also read what other Pitt faculty members have done.

Before the term:

Include the dates in your syllabus. Plan to allow class time during the survey period for students to complete surveys. Explain why it’s important to you and how you’ve used it in the past.

Teaching Surveys

Students in this class will be asked to complete a Student Opinion of Teaching Survey. Responses are confidential and I do not see the results until after final grades are posted. Your feedback is very important to me. Provide examples of changes based on feedback.  

Throughout the term:

Collecting feedback midterm 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). Watch our video series where students and faculty talk about the importance of giving and receiving feedback early in the term.

  • The Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching offers a very customizable midterm course survey option.
  • Provide students with samples of effective feedback. Ask them to be specific in their comments and provide examples. The University of Michigan provides a nice guide for students.

Add custom questions to your end of term student opinion of teaching survey

During the Survey Period:

  • Let students know surveys are open and where to find survey links.
  • Remind students often to complete the survey.
    • Post an announcement on Canvas
    • Send a personal email
  • Reassure students that the responses you receive are anonymous and you don’t see the results until after final grades have been posted.
  • Ask them to think about the whole term, be specific in their feedback, focus on teaching strategies, and provide examples. The University of Michigan provides a nice guide for students.
  • Schedule class time for students to complete surveys.

Survey Results

Review your results and meet with a Teaching Consultant who can help you interpret your results and develop a course of action if necessary. Email teaching@pitt.edu to set up a consultation.

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