Student Evaluations

Photo of small children playing in toy car.

By Roxanne Wilson

St. Cloud State University is a teaching university. Student evaluation is a key component to understanding how to grow as an effective teacher. This is important for self reflection, curriculum analysis and your PDR/PDP.

First Year Action

I included student evaluations in my D2L course. I provided time in class for students to complete them anonymously. I used the general nursing course evaluation questions as well as added specific course assignment questions. Since I was trying new techniques, I wanted to see what students thought of group projects, specific speakers and specific assignments. Some of the grouped feedback was different than individual feedback. I found a new speaker in Mental Health was outstanding. We also found that the student group presentations were not viewed as effective for teaching students about medications. This was a process that has been in place for several years. Next year we are going to reduce group assignments, increase faculty pharmacology content and move to in class quizzes to improve the weekly reading assignments.

Group and Single Evaluations

A class representative gave feedback on a clinical placement as very negative. The group anonymous evaluation gave much more input on this area that differed from what the curriculum committee heard from the representative. I noted some faculty let students complete the evaluation on D2L outside of class. In those classes (I was a co-teacher) the input included only 4 or 5 students. The content was not as rich as the in-class evaluations.

Your Career

Since we need to include a summary of our teaching effectiveness for our PDR, there is some fear that student input could derail a career. I found in group evaluations students are very consistent on what they really appreciate (and they do) and where they see things could be better. They want to their experience to help others. They also are very responsive to the idea that faculty are engaged and want their input. I would say give time for evaluations and summarize the outcomes to improve your teaching and use thoughtfully in your PDP.

What strategies for evaluation have you found effective?

How have you addressing teaching outcomes in PDR/PDP?

About the author: Roxanne Wilson is Assistant Professor of Nursing.