Double the response rate for course evaluations at ST

The new model for course evaluations has encouraged significantly more students to complete their course evaluations. This is a great benefit for quality assurance work at ST.

2018.02.09 | Christina Troelsen

A new model for course evaluations led to double the response rate at ST last autumn. (Photo: Lars Kruse)

ST has been struggling with low response rates for course evaluations for several years. The low response rates have meant that the results of evaluations have not been as useful they could be. In the autumn semester last year, the faculty management team decided to test something new, and as a result the response rate at ST as a whole has doubled.

A new model for evaluating courses at ST was launched in autumn 2017 and the following changes were introduced: (1) the evaluation itself now takes place during teaching sessions in the penultimate week of the course, and (2) follow-up on results is during teaching sessions in the final week of the course. This serves three objectives:

1. More valid and useful results

2. Higher quality of feedback from students to teaching staff

3. Greater student awareness that the evaluations form the basis for quality assurance at ST.

In order to strengthen the course-evaluation system, a further extension was initiated with the option for teaching staff to add their own questions to the evaluation form so that specific elements of particular interest to the staff could be evaluated.

In addition, approximately four weeks before the final teaching session an email was sent with specific ideas on how teaching staff could evaluate. Approximately 10 days before the end of the semester, an email was sent to teaching staff whose courses had a relatively low response rate, with ideas for how to increase the response rate.

And the new model worked: The response rate rose from 26.3% in spring to 55.0% in the autumn. An increase of more than 100%!

Finn Borchsenius, vice-dean for education, is pleased with the success:

"The feedback from students on what’s good about our teaching and what could be better is worth its weight in gold; not just for the individual teacher, but also for overall work to ensure high-quality teaching at the faculty. Therefore, it’s extremely positive that we’ve been able to raise the response rate. I’d like to extend a big thank-you to everyone who has contributed to getting the system up and running, and to all the students who have responded to the evaluations," said Finn Borchsenius.

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