Midpoint Feedback

Using midpoint feedback is a worthwhile activity for you and your students. The Centre offers a midpoint survey administered through UBC’s survey tool, Qualtrics, for your students to access anonymously. You can choose what dates you want it to run (typically in October and February) and let us know which courses you want it available in and we can set it up through Canvas. We will send you the anonymous results when the final date of the survey arrives. We strongly encourage you to talk to your students about why you want their input at this time and remind them to fill out the anonymous survey a couple times during the scheduled survey time. When you receive the results, it is important to let the students know what the results were and whether there will be any changes that will affect them or the class as a result of the survey. The students will appreciate a chance to contribute to the success of the class. There are alternative ways to survey your class to get feedback on how the course is going for them.

Midpoint Feedback Suggestions

Instructors are encouraged to gather feedback from their students mid-way through the course or even earlier in order to assess how the students are feeling about their learning opportunities, the course materials, the instructional decisions, etc. This allows the instructor to make changes or adaptations to the routines or strategies used to increase student success. Midpoint feedback also demonstrates to your students that you care about their learning and want them to succeed.

Depending on how many times your class meets in a week and how many learning strategies have been employed, an instructor may choose to survey the class after only a couple of weeks. Sample questions include:

1. List 2 things that you like about the class.
2. List 2 things you would change about the class.
3. Is the level of class discussion too high, too low, just right?
4. Are there ways that you—and the other students—could make the course more effective?
5. What could the instructor do to enhance your learning experience?
6. Thus far, how would you rate the course?

It is important that the feedback be provided anonymously either by hand or online. You can add as many questions as you have time for, or that are pertinent to your course, for example, asking questions about the use of a textbook, lab time, etc. It is imperative that you share the results with your students as soon as possible and indicate what changes may be implemented and give a rationale if things are not going to be adjusted.

The Centre can set up a midpoint feedback through your WebCT Vista Course Shell so that the survey is open to your students for a set amount of time and the results are sent to you anonymously. The Centre has 3 templates to choose from – a short evaluation survey (4 questions), a long evaluation survey ( 12 questions) and a buffet of survey questions that you can choose from.

Another quick way to assess how things are going in the class is called Start, Stop, Continue.

For each of the following, write ONE idea on:

1. Start, what you feel I should start doing to better assist your learning in this class,
2. Stop doing because it does not contribute to your learning or the general learning environment,
3. Continue doing because it creates a good class atmosphere and learning environment and you would regret losing it.

Whatever method you choose to gather the midpoint feedback from your students, it is a worthwhile activity, communicating your commitment to student success and teaching development. Student feedback is officially gathered at the conclusion of a course, but those results are not given in a timely manner so that you can deal with results prior to that course ending.

Depending on your objectives for obtaining the feedback, you may wish to gather it from individuals or allow students to answer the questions individually and then gather in a small group and only send forward the comments that are common. In this way, students may learn that they are the only ones that have a particular opinion or they will learn that other students are experiencing the same as they are. If you do group the students it should shorten your reading, but also indicate which concerns and strengths are common.

Other ways of gathering feedback about student success is through early assessments and encouraging student use of your office hours if they have concerns. Some instructors also offer online discussions for the students on assignments or projects and instructors can review them to search for any common misunderstandings or mistakes.

Midpoint feedback is encouraged for all courses, but especially if you are teaching a large class where you are not able to connect with each student every class time.

Midpoint SSC Form

Cohen (1980) performed a meta-analysis of 17 studies that examined effects of midterm evaluation on improving teaching. He found that receiving feedback from student ratings administered during the first half of the term was positively related to improving teaching as measured by student ratings at the end of term. Similarly, Murray (2007) showed (on the basis of Murray & Smith, 1989) that midterm feedback with ratings of specific behaviors led to significant improvements of classroom teaching, as indicated by significantly higher ratings of Overall Teaching at the end of term. Murray concluded that under the right conditions, midterm feedback on specific teaching behaviors could significantly improve teaching.

Cohen, P. A. (1980). Effectiveness of student-rating feedback for improving college instruction: A meta-analysis of findings. Research in Higher Education, 13(4), 321-341.

Murray, H. G. (2007). Low-inference teaching behaviors and college teaching effectiveness: Recent developments and controversies. In R. P. Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds.), The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 145-200). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Murray, H. G., and Smith, T.A. (1989). Effects of Midterm Behavioral Feedback on End of-term Ratings of Instructor Effectiveness. Paper presented at  annual meeting of the American Education Research Association, San Francisco.