Mid-Term Course Evaluations
Improve Teaching and Learning
Mid-semester course evaluations are a valuable resource for improving student learning, enhancing teaching effectiveness, and fostering a positive classroom learning environment. Unlike course evaluations completed at the end of the semester, feedback from students obtained at one or more times during the semester can lead to significant learning and teaching changes for both students and instructors while the course is still in progress. The purposes of gathering informal feedback from students during the semester are:
- To allow you to address student misconceptions or learning difficulties
- To make changes to the course schedule, assignments, or other activities, if necessary
- To communicate to students that you care about their perspectives on the course, their engagement and learning, and your teaching
- To provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their expectations, efforts, and learning
- To reflect on your own teaching goals, activities, and interactions with students.
Mid-semester course evaluation is an example of formative evaluation of teaching, where the primary goal is to use student feedback as one source of information for developing teaching skills and effectiveness. Unlike end-of-semester course evaluations, which are standardized across the college and contribute to summative evaluation of teaching, the mid-semester evaluations are designed solely for your own use in making changes during the semester (and in revising courses for future semesters).
Mid-semester course evaluations are not a required component of formative evaluation procedures at Denison and are used inconsistently across the college, according to information presented in the Final Report (February 2015) of the Task Force on Teaching Effectiveness and Student Evaluation (TESL). However, the TESL report “recommends that mid-term evaluations be a part of the classroom experience at Denison. Students value mid-term evaluations but also emphasize their desire to see changes in the course based on their input. The changes are a sign of their involvement and agency in the course’s unfolding” (p. 86).
Denison’s Center for Learning and Teaching can provide resources, guidance, and consultation on the development and use of mid-semester evaluations by individual faculty as well as academic departments or other faculty mentoring groups. As in all Center-related programs, the emphasis will be on formative evaluation and faculty development.
Using mid-term evaluations as part of a formative evaluation of teaching is a 3-step process:
- Designing the Evaluation Questionnaire
- Administering the Evaluation
- Responding to Students' Comments