Student evaluations play major role in assessment of teachers in higher education

by Julie Dodd

Evaluation is part of the education process for both students and instructors.

Student evaluations are a major part of evaluating teaching at most colleges and universities.

At UF, students complete Faculty Course Evaluations every semester. The evaluations are to be completed during the last two weeks of the semester. Instructors have access to their evaluations after UF releases student grades after the semester has ended.

The students are asked 15 questions and rate the instructor on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. (See questions in sidebar.)

Faculty Course Evaluation questions University of FloridaIn addition, students can provide responses to these open-ended questions:

  • Qualities of instructor which contributed to success of the course.
  • Qualities of instructor which hindered success of the course.
  • Opinions of course, including printed materials.
  • Additional comments to improve overall quality of the course.
  • Any other comments.

Knowing what the questions are that students will be asked can help you as an instructor. You don’t want to “teach to the test,” so to speak, but being aware of how students will be asked to assess your teaching can help you in planning and teaching.

  • Have you made directions clear for assignments? (Question 1)
  • Are you providing office hours so that students can meet with you, and do you respond to student email in a timely manner? (Question 4)
Dr. Mark Rush video to promote completion of student evaluations

The GatorRater website includes this video of Dr. Dennis Rush explaining why students should complete Faculty Course Evaluations.

UF has moved to having Faculty Course Evaluations completed by students online rather than with paper and pencil during class. The one weakness of that system so far is the low completion rate. The majority of students do not complete the evaluation forms. One way to solve that issue is to ask students to bring their laptops to class and set aside about 10 minutes for students to complete the online evaluation. The instructor must leave the room during this time.


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