Improving Response Rates: What’s in it for Students?
By Gil Gruber
Low response rates during course evaluations is a problem for many higher education institutions (HEIs). Why should your students take time out of their busy schedules to give feedback on a course that they’ve already completed? HEIs can help increase student participation in course evaluations by demonstrating how they are an important driver of teaching and learning improvement. While there is no on-size-fits-all solution for institutions to follow, here are a few tips you can use to affect a change in student perception of course evaluations.
Perceived Value of a Degree – There’s no doubt that a degree from a top ranking HEI increases earning power and broadens opportunities. Course evaluations give academic leaders the data they need to drive institutional improvement, thereby boosting its perceived value. By completing evaluation forms your current students are contributing to future learning experiences and the value of student success. This will affect your institution’s ranking, perception, and image – adding prestige to the degrees you confer both past and present. As a result, when one of your graduates apply for a job the value of your institution’s name is measured on what your school is worth today, not when the student graduated.
Access to Historical Evaluation Data During Registration – The feedback students provide on your course evaluations can be valuable during the registration process. Let your students know that by completing evaluation forms they are contributing to a data repository that can help future students select their courses. After all, course selection is one of the most important decisions that a student makes each semester and can determine whether they succeed or fail. Data from past evaluations will help them choose the course, instructor, or syllabus that best fits their needs and learning style.
Sense of Mission When Student Insight Turns Into Action: Communicate the value of course evaluations to students by demonstrating how past feedback has led to changes within the classroom and/or institution. This will reinforce the importance of course evaluations and reiterate your commitment to student success. If you can prove to your students that their feedback is an important part of your process for teaching improvement, they will be more likely to participate. This may also enhance the quality of their responses because they’ll take the time to provide constructive comments on their classroom experience.
Course evaluations are such an important part of improving the student experience. What are some other tips for driving response rates on course evaluations? Comment below and let us know.
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