Evaluations are great ways for instructors to learn more about what elements of their teaching plan, classroom layout, and even personality aren’t working for their students. A teacher’s priority should be to make learning a safe, productive, and efficient process for students, while still challenging them to push themselves to their fullest potential. If some part of the instructor’s system is a hindrance to that, they need to know, and who better to hear it from but the students themselves?
Of course, many professors are also required to distribute evaluations at the completion of each quarter, but mandatory or not, teachers – and those in charge of putting together evaluations – should make the most of this opportunity. How can they do that? Well, they can start by asking the right questions! Read on for nearly 100 sample evaluation questions you can use to get only the most useful feedback from your students.
Remember, just because teachers are the ones doing the teaching doesn’t mean they should stop trying to learn and improve. Agree? Check out this course on mastering the art of teaching.
What Should Evaluation Questions Ask?
The best evaluation forms are the ones that ask a broad range of questions about different aspects of a course: everything from the teacher, to the syllabus, to the topic of study, the required materials, text books, office hour availability, classroom layout, schedule, workload, and more. These categories should be broken up, so that students filling out the evaluation form can keep themselves focused on one idea at a time. The evaluation form should also be relatively short, and ask only the most relevant questions about a class.
Determining what’s most relevant can be tricky, though, because often there’s no way to find out about important aspects that you might’ve overlooked, except for with actual feedback from the students. This is why it’s good to leave an additional questions/comments section at the end of the evaluation form, to allow students to vent any particular frustrations you might not even be aware of at all.
Finally, evaluation forms should ask for a mix of written feedback and anchor choices. Asking for a decent amount of written feedback will certainly generate more detailed answers from students, but most students don’t want to stay 20 minutes after a final has ended to write out an essay for their teacher – inconvenient, but true! Anchor choices allow students to rate their experience quickly, plus it’s something you can quantify at a glance without having to read out long, drawn out explanations yourself. Both are useful for evaluating the good and the bad of a class.
Learn more about the best practices for designing and analyzing evaluations with this course on perfecting the user feedback survey.
Sample Evaluation Questions
The following sample evaluation questions will be broken up into relevant categories, each of which will serves as its own sample of the kinds of topics you should be asking your students to comment on.
Basic Identifying Questions
- Graduating year
- Class title
- Professor’s name
- Did the topic of this course align with your expectations?
- If not, what did you expect the course was about?
- Did you take this course to fulfill a GE, or was the topic relevant to your primary course work?
- Was the course material clearly outlined at the start of the quarter/semester?
- Did the class skim or skip over any particular subject you hoped would be focused on more?
- Was the objective of the course made clear at the start of the quarter/semester?
- Did the content and structure of the course accommodate that objective?
- Was the syllabus clear in outlining the expected time commitment and course work required for the quarter/semester?
- Did you enjoy or find sufficient academic value in this course?
- Was the expected output of work and time commitment made clear at the beginning of the course?
- Did the amount of anticipated course work align with the amount of work you ended up putting in to the course?
- Were the daily lectures relevant to your current assignments at the time?
- Were the lectures delivered at a fitting pace for your academic needs?
- Did the lectures feel supplemental to your assigned work, or were they necessary to complete it?
- Did the lectures keep you adequately engaged in the subject of the course?
- Did the lectures make you feel adequately challenged by the subject of the course?
- Did the instructor seem interested or enthusiastic at all about the course material?
- Was the instructor prepared and qualified to teach the course material?
- Did the instructor remain clear, engaging, and on topic during lectures?
- Was the instructor available outside of the classroom for academic consultation?
- Did the instructor respond to student questions and concerns in a sensitive and timely fashion?
- Did the instructor offer feedback on student assignments, such as homework, essays, research reports, and other projects?
- If yes, how was the quality of the instructor’s feedback?
- Did the instructor encourage class discussion?
- Did the instructor make the best use of class time?
Instructor or Teacher’s Assistant Office Hours
- Did the instructor or teacher’s assistant provide office hours?
- Did you take advantage of office hours to voice concerns, ask questions, and receive feedback?
- How many times during the quarter did you attend outside office hours?
- Was the feedback you received during office hours constructive and helpful?
- Was the instructor open to feedback from students during office hours?
- If you did not attend office hours, explain why.
- If you had a bad experience attending the instructor’s office hours, explain.
- How many hours did you initially plan on committing to this course on a weekly basis?
- How many hours did you end up committing to the course by the end of the quarter or semester, on a weekly basis?
- How many hours did you spend on daily reading assignments from this course?
- How many hours did you spend on essays and reports from this course?
- How many hours did you spend on supplemental research and studying for this course?
- Was the time commitment more than you were anticipating, or felt was necessary, for the course?
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Homework and Studying
- How many hours per day did you spend working on assignments for the course, outside of class?
- How many hours per day did you spend working on assignments for the course, during class hours?
- How many hours per day did you spend studying and reviewing notes for the course?
- Did you amount of homework exceed or meet your expectations for the course?
- Did the course allow sufficient time to complete required homework assignments?
- Did the course allow sufficient time to study for upcoming quizzes and exams, between the test announcement and the test date?
- Were the homework assignments helpful in your understanding of the course material?
- Did you ever seek outside help to complete homework assignments?
- Did you study for this course in groups or by yourself?
- Was the instructor clear about his or her expectations for student homework assignments?
- Were the required resources and supplemental materials to complete daily homework assignments easy to find or made readily available by the instructor?
- Did you ever feel unclear about what a homework assignments was, when it was due, or how to find the materials necessary to complete it?
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- Did the required texts help or supplement your understanding of the course subject and material?
- How effective were the required materials in studying for midterms, finals, and preparing essays and research reports?
- Were the required readings relevant to your daily lessons?
- Were the assignments based on the required readings relevant to your daily lessons?
- Rate how well the textbooks helped you in understanding daily lectures.
- Rate how well the handouts helped you in understanding daily lectures.
- Rate how well supplemental online reading and additional required resources helped you in understanding daily lectures.
- Were the required course materials more or less useful than in-class lectures? Or were they equally important?
- Would you have liked to see any specific book, video, or supplemental material required as part of this course? If yes, explain why.
- Would you have liked to see any specific book, video, or supplemental material removed from the list of required course materials? If yes, explain why.
- Were the required materials easy to find and purchase, or rent?
- Were the required materials affordable?
Technology and Other Resources
- Was the technology and other required in-class resources available, functional, and easy to use?
- Did the instructor demonstrate competency in using the in-class technology?
- Did the instructor struggle with using any in-class technology, or require outside help from an assistant or student?
- Were there enough resources, such as computers, or other in-class technologies to go around during each class?
- Did the instructor meaningfully incorporate these technologies into their lectures?
- Did the instructor have a website with information about the course, course work, upcoming exams, announcements, rule changes, contacts, grades, schedules, and other important data posted, and up to date?
- If not, would you have liked to have an online resource with which to access important information about this course?
- Did you ever exchange emails with the instructor over academic-related affairs?
- Did the instructor respond to emails in a timely fashion?
- Explain any issues you had in this class related to the use or availability of necessary technology.
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Areas of Improvement
- Which part of this course do you think could use the most improvement? The subject, the materials, the instructor, etc.?
- Which part of this course do you think needs the least improvement?
- Additional questions/comments/concerns.
Teaching isn’t easy, and not all the feedback you receive from these evaluation questions will be positive. But, there are ways to keep improving. Check out this course on how to teach anything to anyone. For those who are struggling with a tough crowd, check out this course on how to motivate unmotivated students.
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