Center for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning

CATL

Evaluating a Course

Mid Semester Evaluations 

Mid-semester evaluations are a way instructors can receive informal feedback from their students in regards to what’s working well, what might not be working as well as perceived, concepts that students may not understand, and appropriate depth and speed of instruction. 

By conducting mid-semester evaluations and addressing feedback, instructors may see improved end-of-term evaluations (Cohen, 1980) (Murray, 2007). This is because the current class can benefit from any changes an instructor may decide to implement.

Besides offering instructors a chance to tweak their courses, mid-semester evaluations allow them to address student concerns that may have otherwise been unknown. For example, if students are uncertain as to why a particular topic or process was covered, providing in-class feedback on evaluation comments may allow instructors an opportunity to reconnect the dots. Additionally, by summarizing feedback, students may see the diversity in their peer’s opinions regarding instruction, or dissimilarities between their own perceptions and those of other students. 
Some sample mid-semester survey questions are provided below. 

Guidance on Mid-semester evaluations

As part of the Center's TeAch Tuesday series, Kris Vespia (Associate  Professor of Psychology) offers advice on how to conduct mid-semester evaluations in your course.

Sample surveys 

Start-Stop-Continue 

  • What is your hindering your learning that your instructor should stop doing? 
  • What should your instructor start doing to improve your learning? 
  • What is helpful to your learning that your instructor should continue doing? 

Open-ended questions 

  • Examples:
    • What in this class so far has helped your learning the most? 
    • What in this class so far has hindered your learning? 
    • What suggestions do you have to improve this course? 

Plus / Delta (Dr. Mary Davis and Dr. Helen Grady at Mercer University) 

  • Record Plus (something they liked) 
  • Record Delta (something they’d like to change) 

Plus/Delta figure. Adapted from Start Stop Continue, 2016, Retrieved July 5, 2017, from https://mdsoar.org/bitstream/handle/11603/2260/Start%20Stop%20Continue.pdf?sequence=1
 

Online surveys 

  • Utilize online survey tools like Qualtrics or D2L surveys to get feedback 
  • Difficult to get high response rates – may want to offer class time for students to use mobile devices or other campus tech to complete survey 
  • Helpful for multiple choice questions to easily get means and other stats 

Lab surveys (Rutgers TA Project) 

  • Do you feel adequately prepared to complete this lab, based on the lab manual and pre-laboratory lecture? 
  • How much time did you put into writing the first lab report?