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The Value of Mid-Course Student Assessment

March 13, 2012

Whether you’re teaching a course for the first time or a season veteran, there is great value in doing at least one mid-course assessment. Often, there is a mandated student assessment of their instructors at the end of a course but any feedback given cannot be implemented in that course and, especially for beginning instructors, unsavory feedback can adversely affect your career. So, if something is wrong or if you’re simply not connecting with this group in the ways you thought you were, you could have perhaps fixed things with a mid-course assessment. It’s a chance to get feedback without the departmental implications.

A very simple assessment technique is called Stop, Start, Continue. Hand out index cards and have students write out one thing they would stop (something they don’t like) in the course, one thing they would start (a suggestion), and one thing they would continue (something they like). It will give you a brief snapshot of what’s working and what’s not, as well as allowing student input into the course.

A very detailed handout from the University of Colorado has many more suggestions for questions, such as:

  • What topics interest you that are not currently being covered by the course?
  • What teaching strategies in this class are most helpful for your learning?
  • In what ways has the instructor increased your interest in the course content?

Of course, the catch with asking for mid-course student feedback is that you have to be willing to adapt and take that feedback into consideration!

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