Students have distinctive, valuable insights to offer about the teaching and learning experience, though student feedback should not be a stand-alone measure of teaching quality. New student experience surveys approved by the University Senate in 2018 and 2019 organize student feedback around specific teaching practices; they do not generate numerical ratings for comparison against departmental or university means.
Below you will find information about the design of the Student Experience Surveys, an overview of the type of questions and several ways to use both the Midway Student Experience Survey and the End-of-term Student Experience Survey, and a description of the previous Student Evaluations of Teaching. A regularly updated page detailing the development and implementation system is available on the Office of the Provost’s website: https://provost.uoregon.edu/revising-uos-teaching-evaluations
These surveys offer an opportunity for formative and summative feedback that we hope will be even more supportive to instructors than previous student evaluations. Instructors who emphasize their interest in receiving feedback prior to administering the surveys and who make time during class (in synchronous classes) for students to complete them tend to have higher completion rates and to receive more useful feedback.
TEP welcomes meeting with faculty and GEs who wish to debrief survey feedback and think together about how they might like to apply select feedback to the course.
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Student Experience Surveys
Both surveys ask students about specific teaching elements drawn from research on the teaching practices that are significant to student learning. These teaching practices are also aligned with the UO definition of teaching quality.
Midway Student Experience Surveys
The midway Student Experience Survey (M-SES) is centrally administered to all courses with at least five registered students. Feedback is only provided to the instructor. Therefore, the survey is only for the improvement of teaching and not evaluative purposes. No M-SES reports are administered during summer terms.
TEP recommends that every instructor collect and reflect on midway feedback, using the M-SES or their own method.
In reading midway feedback, instructors might ask themselves:
- Is there a pattern or focal area in the feedback?
- If students raise concerns, do you find a grain of truth in them?
- Is the feedback actionable through
- a modification to the class plan or approach (no matter how small)?
- discussion of clarification of expectations or learning goals?
- How will you approach communicating with the class about their feedback?
For example, you might:
Make a clarification:
Thank you for your feedback—it’s very important to me to do all I can to help you succeed in this class and take things from it that will be valuable in other UO classes and beyond. Interestingly, there were a variety of opinions about _____. I wanted to underscore the rationale for why we’re doing this the way we are.
I found it really interesting to read your feedback about _________. I realize that I haven’t explained __________, which means you can’t yet see how these pieces all fit together. Therefore _______.
I noticed that several of you would feel really supported by _____. I want to meet that need by ____.
Recommend the class make a change:
I noticed several observations about ____. I think we as a class could take this seriously by working together to _____.
TEP staff are happy to help with any questions about midway student feedback, which is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to discuss with students the how and the why of teaching and learning in the course.
End-of-term Student Experience Surveys
The End-of-term Student Experience Survey (E-SES) is centrally administered to all courses with at least five registered students and results are provided to the instructor and evaluators.
Similar to the M-SES, the E-SES is intended to provide feedback on specific teaching practices and how they impact student perceptions of their learning. Responses to pilot surveys conducted in 2018-19 suggest students more frequently provide specific comments about teaching practices and rarely make personal comments about instructors (down from 21% to 1.5% of comments) compared to old student evaluations of teaching.
The elements of the survey are drawn from research on the teaching practices that are significant to student learning and match those above in the M-SES. The reports are available to instructors after grades have been submitted.
Individual instructors might want to contextualize E-SES results by addressing them in personal statements and in the new Instructor Reflection survey. The Instructor Reflection is available from the beginning of dead week until the first Friday of the subsequent term. The instructor reflection also allows for reflection on how instructors are implementing inclusive, engaged, and research-led teaching practices.
Previous Student Evaluations of Teaching
From 2007 – Summer 2019, UO administered numerical student evaluations of teaching (SETs). Senate legislation in 2019 initiated the phase out of numerical SETs. An August 2019 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the faculty union and the Provost communicates these numerical evaluations “cannot be used as the sole standard for assessing teaching quality.” Evaluators should be aware of the limitations of SET data and ensure they are considering student data alongside other evidence of teaching quality. The TEP Statement on Student Evaluations of Teaching summarizes this evidence and contains useful citations.
In the old SETs, students were asked to rank on a scale of 1-5 (5 indicates “exceptional”; 1 “unsatisfactory”).
- What was the quality of this course?
- What was the quality of the instructor’s teaching?
- How well organized was this course?
- How effective was the instructor’s use of class time?
- How available was the instructor for communication outside of class?
- How clear were the guidelines for evaluating students' work in this course?
- The amount that I learned in this course was:
Then they were asked qualitative questions about the “instructor’s strengths and areas for possible improvement” and “strengths and areas of possible improvement for the course as a whole.” Additional multiple choice questions asked about their expected grades and effort in the course.