Want to boost your Q scores? Here are some quick tips from the Bok Center’s Associate Directors:
Some things students hate:
- long delays in getting feedback on their work
- unequal standards between sections
Some things students love:
- a clear sense of purpose, both for what section is supposed to accomplish and for how each conversation or activity fits into the big picture
- instructors’ enthusiasm for the material AND for students’ learning process
Some common misconceptions about what the Q can tell you about your teaching:
- Contradictory feedback means you shouldn’t change anything
- Feedback that expresses the student’s emotions doesn’t say anything about your teaching
- The Q is an evaluation of your teaching (it’s closer to raw data: extremely useful but in need of interpretation)
- Negative feedback is just something to cringe over and move past
- You have no control over what kind of data you get from the Q
What you can do now to improve your Q scores:
- Collect midterm feedback: the Bok Center website’s early feedback page has printable forms, tools for getting online feedback, a gallery of feedback questions, plus advice about how to interpret and respond to feedback. Just remember to include a “rate section overall” question; it’ll help you gauge the forcefulness of both praise and suggestions for improvement.
- Talk to your students about their feedback: tell them what they said, what adjustments you are or are not planning to make, and why.
- Invite a colleague to visit your class. Someone who’s been in your shoes can offer invaluable insight.
- Review your feedback with an objective third party. You are much, much more likely to set clear and effective goals for improving your teaching if you review your evaluations with another person. A twenty-minute consultation with a Bok Center staff member can help you make sense of confusing or misleading feedback, get you away from common misconceptions, and give you some concrete (and manageable!) goals for getting your students on board.
What you can do later to improve your Q scores:
- Check back in with your students and see if the midterm adjustments you made are working. Collect third-quarter feedback, do a quick anonymous poll, or allot a few minutes of class time to a conversation with your students.
- Prepare your students for their experience with the Q—on the last day of class, talk to them about how you’ll reading the Q and what kinds of feedback will be most helpful to you as you work to improve your teaching.
Do you REALLY want to improve your teaching?
- Get videotaped!
Arrange for your class to meet at the Bok Center. Being videotaped is not about judging yourself, it’s about watching your students—how they interact with each other, how they interact with you—and getting the extra information that will help you make sense of your students’ written feedback. Email bokcenter[at]fas.harvard.edu to set up an appointment.
This post was written by Odile Harter.