Every end of the semester, course ratings are processed. Students are asked to fill out evaluation forms to assess how their professors and courses have been helpful to them. The ratings are basis for evaluating performance of instructors. Those can also provide feedback so that professors will know how to do better next time.
CourseEasy has a facility that allows a student to actually rate a professor and provide information to professor’s way of handling the class and his “apparent” level of expertise and method of teaching. It is an efficient way to provide clues as to the professor’s performance inasmuch as college students are concerned.
It is not surprising that most students are punitive and harsh during course ratings. Professors who intend to get higher ratings should aim to make students enjoy the course. To get better ratings from their students, they should be proactive through these three ways.
Understanding today’s college students
They may not directly say it, but in general, college students want their professors to know who they are. They will appreciate it if their professors will know their names and will understand them. Modern students are technologically savvy and busy with so many things. Understand that not all of them are already ready for college coursework.
Professors should aim to help all their students through making them perform better in class. For a start, ample background knowledge should be provided about subject areas. It also helps to share rationale behind what instructors and students should do. There is a need to clearly and interestingly explain why the lessons have to be learned no matter how difficult they are. Greater motivation to study usually ends up with higher course ratings provided by students.
Setting criteria for grading
Every student wants to achieve high grades. Even if they don’t say it, they want to know how to achieve their targeted grades. Today’s college students are familiar with rubrics and criteria sheets, which they have been encountering since their elementary school. Thus, they may expect the same in college. It is not surprising that students want to determine their standing on any particular day within the semester.
Professors should adopt a ‘no-mystery’ grading approach. There should be simplicity and clarity to the grading system, which should be re-explained briefly after returning quizzes, exams, and assignments to them. During first day of classes, it is normal for students to be overloaded with too much information. They usually get more ready to understand the grading system after the first assignment is graded.
Getting early feedback
Course ratings are summative and are processed at the end of the semester. Some professors aim to respond promptly to students’ needs without waiting for the end-of-course evaluation. Formative feedback can be collected earlier during the semester to achieve teaching goals.
It is effective to collect formative feedback during examinations or submission of major papers. It is strategic to attach a page at the back of exam sheets or ask students to submit a paper answering questions about their learning process, the class activities they like and dislike, the topics that remain difficult, and their suggestions to professors.