Low Course Evaluation Response Rates

Faculty in our department, which includes many large enrollment undergraduate courses, have ongoing concerns about low response rates for course evaluations, particularly given that these evaluations are typically among the primary data available for determining effectiveness in teaching for annual evaluations and promotion decisions. To improve response rates, various faculty are using a variety of means (e.g., in-class reminders; email reminders; in-class time for completion of the evaluation; extra credit for individual students completing the evaluation by a deadline; extra credit for all students in the course if a criterion response rate is met by a deadline). There are concerns that these techniques require extra work and tracking by the faculty, that faculty do not agree on the best approach, and that response rates are likely to remain uneven across courses (both within and across units), depending on an individual faculty member’s use of reminders and incentives. It was suggested that a centralized plan to improve student response rates to course evaluations would be more appropriate. There are models at other universities that have worked to greatly increase course evaluation response rates. One such example that is used by some universities is providing students who complete all of their evaluations priority grade access to view their grades a few days or up to one week earlier than students who have not completed their course evaluations. Another model requires that students complete or opt out of their evaluations to view their final semester grades. Regardless of the method used, we recommend that consideration of this issue should be centralized to work toward improved evaluation response rates across all courses.


1 comments on "Low Course Evaluation Response Rates"
  1. A university committee chaired by Bill Davis is examining these evaluations. Laura Griner Hill is also coordinating the effort for annual review considerations. This has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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