Course evaluations provide course instructors and program administrators an important opportunity to poll students for feedback on curricular improvements, new pedagogies, student learning outcomes, and other feedback on the learning experience. In addition to course instructors’ interest in information specific to their courses, program administrators may wish for all instructors in a particular program to ask for student feedback about different aspects of a program, including program-level student learning outcomes. This feature in EvaluationKIT allows for instructors and programs to ask these questions.
The following information is designed to guide instructors and program administrators in creating custom course evaluation questions.
Best Practices for Creating Custom Questions
- Add the minimum number of questions that you need. Response rates on course evaluations are critical, and students are less likely to respond to lengthy surveys. Keep the number of questions added to a minimum. PIE suggests adding no more than ten questions.
- Add questions that will result in important, actionable information. Ask questions that will provide you with information specific to your program or course and will allow you to use the information to make improvements or guide decision-making.
- Create questions that are clear and focus on one thing. Avoid asking “double-barreled” questions; asking about more than one skill or knowledge set results in confusing answers — Which part of the question was the student responding to? If you see an “and” or “or” in your question, that’s a flag that your question might be double-barreled and need revising.
- Avoid leading questions or questions that could compromise student anonymity. Test your questions to make sure that they’re not confusing or likely to be interpreted in ways you didn’t intend. Ask at least two students to read and answer your questions and review their responses.
- Use appropriate, balanced scales of measurement. Make sure that a three-point scale has a negative, neutral, and positive option; a four-point scale two negative and two positive options; and a five-point scale two negative, a neutral, and two positive options. Here are three resources for response scale ideas:
These sample questions are a resource for instructors and program administrators to facilitate the development of custom questions. Instructors are encouraged to share their custom questions and scales with PIE to add to our list of MU samples.
Instructors and program administrators may also add questions from within EvaluationKIT using the MU item bank. Instructions for how to do this are included in PIE’s Guide to Adding Custom Questions.
Questions for COVID-19 Transition to Remote Learning
These are some sample questions instructors might want to add in response to the rapid transition to remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.