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Suggestions for Interpreting And Responding To Student Feedback

  1. Before obtaining student feedback, let the students know what you intend to do as a result of their responses. Then, give students your plans for change after you have received and reflected on their feedback.
  2. Focus on feedback regarding your teaching activities, not on feedback regarding your personality.
  3. Initially, communicating to students the results of the data may not be easy, particularly if this has not been common practice.
  4. Put students' negative comments in perspective. Don't over generalize.
  5. Keep in mind that if you are new to teaching, you will probably be more sensitive to negative feedback. You might want a colleague to review the feedback with you for a more objective viewpoint.
  6. The more evidence that is collected, the more likely you will be able to see common themes, if there are any.
  7. Do not make major changes based on one source of feedback.
  8. View student feedback as one piece of information versus as a comprehensive assessment.
  9. Before making decisions based on feedback, complete a comprehensive assessment, grouping feedback into categories such as
    • those you can change in the current semester (i.e. decreasing the turn around time for assignments).
    • those that must wait until the next time the course is offered (i.e. textbook).
    • those that you can not or will not change for pedagogical, philosophical, or department/programmatic reasons (i.e. the number of assignments or the department final exam).
  10. Share your summaries with students so that they know they were taken seriously and their opinions were heard.

References

Huba, M.E, and J.E. Freed. Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Needham Heights: Allyn and Bacon, 2000. Print.

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