During the Spring of 2023 the NYU Undergraduate Academic Affairs Committee recommended that all faculty and students would benefit from mid-semester feedback. Mid-semester feedback, they wrote, will “enable faculty to learn about their students’ experiences in the course and to identify which pedagogical practices are working well and which are not. Obtaining student feedback on a course while there is still time to make adjustments can both improve learning outcomes and contribute to a more engaged and collaborative class environment.”
To learn more about the value of mid-semester feedback, the UAAC also specifically recommends these resources:
- Why Wait: Using Real-Time Student Feedback to Improve Your Course and Utilizing Student Feedback To Improve Teaching Practice (Learning Experience Design Team, NYU Provost’s Office)
- Gathering Formative Feedback with Mid-Course Evaluations. (University of Toronto)
This page offers one way to collect mid-semester feedback, and includes a survey you can customize and offer to your students. It is also just one tool in a broader approach to implementing feedback into your teaching practice. If you’d like to discuss mid-semester feedback and how best to implement changes based on it, schedule a consultation at any time. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are the Benefits of Mid-Semester Feedback?
Many of us are familiar with end-of-semester evaluations and surveys. But mid-semester feedback, which offers informal, potentially repeatable, and in-time student reaction, can be a different sort of interaction entirely. It can offer a chance to loop back to missed points or concepts, shift emphasis, respond to student workload questions, or just check on the current mood. It can be customized to specific questions about your class, and it can bring you and your students together, as they feel more engaged in and responsible for their own learning.
Using mid-semester feedback you can:
- Get a better idea of what is helpful and not helpful for students in the course
- Quickly and flexibly make adjustments
- Boost student confidence and improve the student-teacher relationship
- Enhance student learning and engagement in the semester
- Give students the opportunity to reflect on their performance and what they can do better in the rest of the semester
- Mid-Semester Feedback (University of Texas at Austin)
- Mid-semester Student Feedback (University of Wisconsin Green Bay)
- How to Collect Mid-Semester Feedback of Teaching (University of Maine)
- Mid-semester Feedback (Utah State University)
What can I do with Mid-Semester Feedback?
Immediately after receiving mid-semester feedback from students, you can…
Students’ feedback can be categorized into areas such as homework, pace, assessments, engagement, etc. A good first step can be to identify important categories and group the responses accordingly.
In large classes, data patterns might be obvious, whereas in smaller classes it might be more difficult to discern which data points should be acted upon. In those cases, conversations with students can be extremely beneficial, even necessary. They can help you and them determine which comments are actionable.
Share key results with the students
Discussing the results of student feedback with the class not only will help clarify patterns but also will allow students to feel respected as individuals. Discussion will also give you the opportunity to explain the rationale behind a course construction (why there is so much reading, or group work, or things like that). Even when you decide not to make a change based on feedback, we find that students appreciate the interest. Plus, you can find out what they love!
Let students know what will change (and what will not) based on their feedback.
After reviewing the feedback and then discussing with the students, feel free to wait before implementing change. You don’t necessarily have to feel that a single discussion is the end of the feedback process, and you don’t have to make a decision on the spot. Students may themselves shift their thoughts after discussion, for example as they realize the value of quizzes as a means for success on upcoming tests. Consider ending the feedback discussion by acknowledging how valuable their thoughts are, and that you will follow up (and then be sure to do so!)
Preparing for future semesters…
Consider the mid-semester feedback as one data point among many
Between semesters, revisit the mid-semester feedback and consider it as one part of a holistic set of information which might include final evaluations, add/drop patterns, overall grades (and grade trends), any reflection journals you’ve kept, etc. Thinking of student success as an ongoing process means keeping track of trends from term to term and adjusting with greater certainty as patterns appear over time. Making small, controllable adjustments each term can help clarify the effectiveness of each.
If you’d like to discuss your mid-semester feedback and how best to implement changes based on it, schedule a consultation at any time. Email us at email@example.com.
- Spotlight on Teaching and Learning: Mid-Semester Check-In (University of California, Berkeley)
- Mid-semester Formative Feedback (University of Connecticut)
When is the best time to give out a Mid-semester Survey?
A Mid-semester survey usually takes place after the first major exam or a unit break, but should be early enough to make changes. (The suggested time would be between 4 to 8 weeks after the semester starts).
That said, it can also help to think about the structure of your course, and perhaps adjust your timing accordingly. You may do more lecturing in the early weeks of your course, and would like to know how that is being received by students. Or perhaps there is a section of your course dedicated to a project you would like to know more about. Consider what it is you’re hoping to know when thinking of when to solicit feedback (or just make it a constant part of the course!)
- Mid-Semester Feedback (University of Texas Austin)
- Soliciting and Utilizing Mid-Semester Feedback (Vanderbilt University)
How to Use This Tool
Using the Mid-semester Survey Tool is simple: just make a copy, edit it to your current needs, and share it with your students.
Step 2: Rename the copied form
Step 3: Edit the survey as you like (learn more about editing here)
You might edit the questions to reflect your setting. For example, you may have an asynchronous class and want to adjust questions about “in class” activity.
You also might add questions
- If you have a lab, for example, you might create a question about timing (“Is there adequate time between the lab and submission of lab paper/report?”)
- Or if you have a writing class, perhaps you would like to obtain some advice from students on the topics they are interested in for future semesters.
- Most faculty members give students the chance to offer anonymous feedback. You may want to add a question for student identification in some settings.
Note: By default, our template questions are not required. Feel free to make any or all student responses required if you feel it necessary.
Step 4: Share the form with your students (Learn more about sharing forms here)
Step 5(optional): Print the form and distribute in class
How can I see my students’ responses?
Google Forms allows users to choose how they hope to see student responses to the survey. You can learn more about your options at the following links:
- Worksheet: Your Plan: Getting Feedback From Students
Tips & Tricks