Course evaluation - for teaching staff

Feedback the results from the course evaluation to the students

For many teachers, discussing the evaluation results with their students is part of the course evaluation. Others, however, find it difficult. In fact, however, this dialogue with the students is a central element of course evaluation and is also taken up in the guidelines for course evaluation at the TU Darmstadt.

Why you should use the opportunity for dialogue with students

By giving feedback, you are signalling to your students that their feedback is taken seriously and that they can make a difference. You show the students that you value their effort and that you critically consider the feedback.

This not only increases students' willingness to participate in course evaluations in the future, but can also strengthen their sense of responsibility when participating in evaluations.

For teachers, dialogue with students offers a valuable opportunity to gain detailed and revealing insights as well as additions to their teaching evaluation results with impulses for improvement in teaching and learning.

If you have results of your course evaluation in your hand, it is because students have taken the time to carefully fill out the questionnaire and give you feedback on your course from the students' perspective.

One possible form of feedback is therefore a simple “Thank you for your feedback!” or “Thank you for taking part in the course evaluation!”. This shows students that their feedback has been received and that their participation in the LVE is valued.

If you want to give something more back to the students in addition to a “thank you”, consider:

  • which result pleased or surprised you the most on your evaluation?
  • have you tried something new and it went down well … or still room for improvement?
  • was there any criticism you would like to respond to?

In the Articles and materials section, you will find support/orientation on how to organise the process of an optimal discussion of teaching evaluation results. The procedure outlined there can of course be adapted to individual circumstances (e.g. time constraints; particularly positive results that hardly give cause for discussion).

The open responses are considered by many teachers to be the most valuable feedback in course evaluation.

Open responses can be very helpful, especially if certain aspects are mentioned (more frequently) that are not asked for in the closed questions. In addition, they can provide important clues in the case of conspicuous values that are, for example, clearly above or below your expectations or the other values of the feedback.

However, it happens that comments are personal, unfair and not very constructive. Point out in advance that you would like the comment field to be treated fairly in order to minimise this danger.

Always be aware that free text comments are individual opinions written in the context of personal experience. In addition, the formulation of individual comments may also be due to the shortness of time, for example. In the case of unclear statements such as “script unusable”, you can ask the student again what was meant.

Our colleagues from the Unit University Teaching and Learning Development have summarised some suggestions on how to deal with unfair comments: Unfair evaluation comments. (opens in new tab).