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Understanding Your Results

Turning Midterm Survey Results into Meaningful Conversations & Change

Results are released one day after surveys close. It’s important to close the loop with students. Review, share, and discuss the results.

Review results:

  • Student Comments
    • Classify comments – use a matrix and assign each comment to a category. Classify comments into strengths and challenges, for instance.
    • Use our coding template organize student comments into “keep,” “stop,” and “suggestions” categories.
    • Students may have a hard time verbalizing what they find difficult and provide feedback that’s vague or confusing. See our strategies for decoding and responding to common student feedback support article.
    • Don’t place emphasis on the outliers – Unfortunately, sometimes students can be harsh critics. Reading negative or cruel comments is difficult but don’t dwell on one or two comments that are disrespectful or hurtful.
  • Statistical Analysis
    • Responses to Likert type questions can provide a quick snapshot of what students think about a particular aspect of the course. Our survey results page has more information about interpreting quantitative results.

Handling low response rates, conflicting, or confusing student feedback

Because students’ perspectives are unique, faculty may want to explore additional opportunities to capture their feedback.

  • Request that the survey be re-opened with an extended deadline.
  • Use a quick feedback tool like Top Hat.
  • Ask students to write additional feedback anonymously on index cards.

Other sources of evidence can also help paint a comprehensive picture of the classroom climate:

  • Student academic outcomes
  • Peer review or observation
  • Teaching consultant course review or course artifact review or observation
  • Self-assess using a tool like a teaching inventory

Read how other faculty have handled low response rates, conflicting, or confusing student feedback.

If you have examples of times when you’ve received little feedback or results were conflicting or confusing, what you did about it, and what you learned and would like to share your experience, please submit your story. Your strategy will be added to our resource document.

Share and discuss with students:

Share the results with students. Use visual aids, when possible, to display the results. Talk about:

  • Changes that can be made.
  • What can’t be changed and why.


Check in with your students again in a few weeks, formally or informally and ask them how things are going, and whether they feel things have improved.

Get assistance from the Teaching Center to:

  • Interpret results
  • Identify possible trends
  • Do a comparison of data from previous years
  • Observe a class and give you unbiased feedback on aspects of your teaching that are important to you and your students. These consultations are always confidential.
  • Develop a plan for adjusting or altering the course


Individual faculty consultations are a foundation of Teaching Center services. Faculty receive confidential feedback provided through course, curriculum, assessment, syllabi reviews, and classroom observations. Faculty appreciate the opportunity to dialogue with pedagogy experts on the design and delivery of their courses.

Email to schedule a meeting with a Teaching Consultant.

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