A couple of weeks ago, Brian offered some strategies for getting the most out of your evaluations. But I have two even more basic questions:
- When do you give the evaluations (partially inspired by Kelli Marshall on Twitter), and
- When do you read them?
(Actually, at my school they’re not called evaluations at all, but student opinion surveys. I don’t think that’s typical, though.)
First, let me again refer to Brian’s post. The goal here shouldn’t be, how can I avoid bad evaluations, but rather should be, how can I extract useful information from them. I tend to give evaluations early, to try to avoid too much end-of-semester panic. The only hard-and-fast rule I have is that I don’t give evaluations on a day that something is due, or that they’re getting something back. The grading scenario is just too worrisome for everyone.
Usually, I look at evaluations on two occasions: when I’m writing up an application of some sort (promotion, tenure, teaching award), or when I’m teaching a class again. One thing I never do is read them when I get them–usually, I’m a little too sensitive at the end of the semester. I’m frustrated by work–my own every bit as much as my students’–that doesn’t live up to expectations, and so I tend to overpersonalize them. (This is especially true of good evaluations: If I read them too early, I just take them on face value and risk missing out on politely-worded advice on tweaking certain assignments.) Usually, when I have to re-teach a class, enough time has passed that I can take them for what they are.
How do you handle the timing of evaluations? What do you do with ‘em when you get them? Let us know in comments!
Image by flickr user Adrian Purser / CC licensed