Recommended Changes For the Course Evaluation Form

Below, red is used to show what is currently on the evaluation form, and green is used to show our recommended changes.

Item 4 on the current form is:
Comments and suggestions on returned material were helpful
This item could be changed to:
Feedback (comments and suggestions written on papers, solutions distributed, class discussion, etc.) pertaining to returned material was helpful
With some types of assignments it's not efficient to write a lot of individual comments on student papers. In some classes, instructors supply the students with detailed solutions to problem sets, or routinely discuss typical mistakes in class --- there are other ways to supply feedback than to write "comments and suggestions on returned materials."

Item 7 on the current form is:
The instructor followed the stated course grading policy
This item could be changed to:
The course grading policy was clearly explained during the first class meeting or clearly stated in the syllabus
Students aren't in a position to know whether or not the stated grading policy was actually followed, especially since the course evaluations should be turned in prior to final grades being given. What is important is that students have information, in advance, as to how grades will be assigned.

Item 11 on the current form is:
Assignments and exams were returned promptly
This item could be changed to:
Assignments and exams were returned in a reasonable amount of time
Some students may take promptly to mean the next class meeting, but in some cases it may be unreasonable for students to expect their work to be graded and returned so quickly (e.g., if the class is very large, or if it typically takes the instructor a long time to grade a student's paper).

A possible new item which could be added is:
Learning goals/objectives were clearly stated in the syllabus
Throughout the university, increased emphasis has been put on learning goals and objectives in recent years. If these are important in general, perhaps they should be considered to be important enough to be assessed. On the other hand, at the time students fill out the evaluation forms, they might not remember whether or not learning goals and objectives were included on the syllabus. Also, compared to other items, it's not clear how important learning goals and objectives are to the students (and we don't want to have an evaluation form that's overly long).