With each class I teach, I create as many opportunities for feedback as I can throughout the semester: Introductory surveys that ask students to describe their own course goals and learning objectives, mid-semester evaluations, short conferences with me to check-in about their performance and experience in the class, and reflective essays about course projects (e.g. what they gained in the process of writing the assignment, what course activities and readings gave them the most guidance, which feedback from their peers and myself was the most instructive, etc.).
I weigh these forms of assessment against the traditional end-of-the semester evaluations for several reasons. First, such surveys are only one form of measuring teaching effectiveness. They are also impacted by several factors: an instructor’s race and gender, their status in the institution, the grades a student receives in the class, the size of the class, whether such a course is an elective or part of the major, etc. Finally, while I value that my students see me as supportive and passionate, I also know that it’s likely that many of them expect this of me as a female instructor and that my teaching style in part may support these beliefs.
Consequently, I seek various forms of feedback and see each one as an integral component to improving my pedagogy and developing my growth as a teacher. More information about my students’ evaluations are provided on the Qualitative and Quantitative Feedback pages and examples of reflective essay assignment sheets are linked on the Teaching Materials page.