Course Evaluations and End-term Student Feedback
At Stanford, student course feedback can provide insight into what is working well and suggest ways to develop your teaching strategies and promote student learning, particularly in relation to the specific learning goals you are working to achieve.
There are many ways to assess the effectiveness of teaching and courses, including feedback from students, input from colleagues, and self-reflection. No single method of evaluation offers a complete view. This page describes the end-term student feedback survey and offers recommendations for managing it.
End-term student feedback
The end-term student feedback survey, often referred to as the “course evaluations”, opens in the last week of instruction each quarter for two weeks:
- Course evaluations are anonymous and run online
- Results are delivered to instructors after final grades are posted
- The minimum course enrollment for evaluations is three students
Two feedback forms
Students provide feedback on their courses using up to two forms:
- The course feedback form gathers feedback on students' experience of the course, covering general questions about learning and course organization, and potentially specific learning goals, course elements, and other instructor-designed questions.
At Stanford, this form focuses on the course as a whole and not the performance of individual instructors. Students complete one form for each course, even in a team-teaching situation where there could be several instructors.
- The section feedback form gathers feedback on the TAs or CAs students interact with, usually through sections such as discussions and labs. Even if TAs and CAs do not lead individual sections—for example, they take office hours or assist during labs—they can still receive feedback using this form.
Course evaluation system
The current course evaluation platform is EvaluationKIT, accessible to instructors at evaluationkit.stanford.edu.
End-term course evaluations and EvaluationKIT are managed by Evaluations and Research, part of Learning Technologies and Spaces (LTS) within Student Affairs. You can find comprehensive information about end-term course evaluations on the Evaluations and Research website.
Tailored custom questions
The course and section forms are customizable, allowing you to add specific questions, such as learning goals, course elements (such as textbooks), and even questions of your own, so that you can gather targeted feedback on aspects of your course design.
Although you are not required to customize your questions, it is an excellent way to gather information on any aspect of the course that you want to assess, such as a new teaching technique, an activity, or an approach you want to revise. If you do not customize, your students will still respond to the standard questions.
Managing your end-term feedback
Whether you are new to Stanford or familiar with the course evaluations system, these are the most useful links to managing your evaluations every quarter:
- Key dates: review the key dates for customization, opening and closing of the evaluations, and reports.
- Customization is open for four weeks each quarter, starting in Week 4, so you can add your own questions to the course and section forms.
- Interpreting your reports: Reading and interpreting feedback effectively will help you to assess what is working and identify areas where your course may need to make adjustments.
- The Evaluations and Research website has many resources to help you find, read, and interpret evaluation reports, as well as understand the scope and limitations of teaching evaluations.
Need help understanding or responding to course evaluations?
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has trained and experienced teaching consultants who can help you interpret results and advise on teaching strategies. Contact CTL to request a consultation at any time.
Further sources of evaluation and feedback
There are many other sources of feedback that can help inform your teaching and learning decisions, including:
- Mid-term student feedback is an excellent way to gather actionable insights into a course while the course is still in progress and it is possible to make adjustments, if necessary, before the end of the quarter. Consider a Small Group Feedback Session offered by CTL or an in-class survey.
- Input from colleagues, such as peer observations, particularly when including a review of materials and course goals, and using a consistent review protocol. Peer review can include online materials, modules, and courses using criteria similar to those for in-class instruction.
- Instructor’s self-reflection, including evaluation of course materials, such as syllabi, assignments, exams, papers, and so on.
- Other contributions, such as those to curriculum development, supervision of student research, mentoring of other instructors, creation of instructional materials, and published research on teaching, can be assessed by colleagues and also form part of a general teaching portfolio.