Resources for Instructors

Making Student Evaluations an Effective Source of Information: Research-based advice

  1. Let students know what changes you have made to your course/teaching as a result of previous evaluations. This lets students know that you both take evaluation seriously, and value their input.
  2. Discuss results with a colleague. McKeachie et al. (1980) found that simply discussing the student evaluation results with a more experienced teaching colleague and sharing ideas for enhancing practice improved teaching and learning.
  3. Various studies have shown the value of expert assistance in interpreting and implementing enhancements as a result of student evaluations (Brinko, 1991; Theall & Franklin, 1991; Brinko & Menges, 1997). Contact CTLT in Vancouver or CTL in the Okanagan for workshops, support around reflective practice, student evaluation of teaching and a variety of other teaching development topics.
  4. Align learning goals, assessment and content clearly. One of the concerns students have is that there is sometimes no clear relationship between what the syllabus says the course will cover (learning goals), what they are tested on (assessment), and what is actually covered in class and the text(s) (content and class activities). It will often be up to the instructor to explain and reinforce this linkage, and explain the criteria for assessment and how they relate to the learning goals.
  5. Consider obtaining student feedback midway through the course. Make use of support services to help interpret and decide on and implement a plan of action from the results and feedback. Ask for student feedback during the learning process so you can demonstrate what improvements you are making as a result of student feedback. Administering a mid-course feedback survey and providing the results and your plan of action based on the feedback to the class will dramatically improve response rates at the end of the year. This is because it addresses students’ primary question about end-of-course surveys—whether anyone looks at or even cares about what they have to say about the course (Spencer & Schmelkin, 2002). See the mid-course feedback website from UBC Vancouver for more information.


  • Brinko, K. T. (1991). The interactions of teaching improvement. In Theall & Franklin (eds.) Effective practices for improving teaching. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 48. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  • Brinko, K. T. & Menges, R. J. (1997). Practically speaking: a source book for instructional consultants in higher education. Stillwater, OK: New Forums Press
  • Chen, Y. & Hoshower, L. B. (2003) “Student evaluation of teaching effectiveness: an assessment of student perception and motivation.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 28 (1), 72-88.
  • McKeachie, W.J., Y-G Lin, M. Daugherty, M.M. Moffett, C. Neigler, J. Nork, M. Walz, and R. Baldwin (1980). “Using Student Ratings and Consultation to Improve Instruction.” British Journal of Educational Psychology 50; 168-74.
  • Spencer, K. & Schmelkin, L. P. (2002) “Student Perspectives on Teaching and its Evaluation.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 27 (5) 397-409.
  • Theall, M & Franklin, J (eds.) (1991). Effective practices for improving teaching. New Directions for Teaching & Learning, 48. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Accessing your Evaluation Reports

More information on how to access your evaluation reports is available on the Individual Results Reports page.