Course evaluations explored

By on April 21, 2014

By Olivia Krauth–

As the semester ends, every student receives emails reminding them to fill out their course evaluations. While every student is alerted of them, few understand the process behind the evaluations.

According to Becky Patterson, executive director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, the process begins 14 to 17 days prior to reading day. Students begin to receive emails about filling out their evaluations, and are able to do so via Blackboard.

Evaluations close on reading day and are available to faculty seven to 10 days after they have posted their final grades. Faculty can see responses from students, but are unable to see any identifying information.  In situations where classes have less than five students, all classes will be pooled to create a faculty report to prevent linking.

All results are confidential, with limited reports available to the program chairs. Deans and other authoritative members of the colleges are also able to see some of the reports.

The course evaluations allow professors to receive specific feedback from students. “Real changes have been made based on comments,” said Bob Goldstein, vice provost for institutional research. “Faculty take them seriously.”

Patterson says there is a 55 to 60 percent response rate, with higher response rates coming from the Kent School of Social Work and professional schools.

Goldstein believes that the timing of course evaluations does not help increase the response rate, citing the end of the semester crunch for the issues.

“It is hard on all of us to be honest with you,” said Goldstein on the end of the semester timing.

About Olivia Krauth

Asst. Editor in Chief at The Louisville Cardinal.

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