Strategies for Increasing Student Survey Response Rate
Student evaluation data is most useful when most or all of the students complete the end-of-course surveys. This prevents a few students with a minority opinion from overshadowing those with differing viewpoints.
While there are many steps that the College of Professional Studies takes to ensure a high response rate, there are strategies that faculty can employ to increase the response rates in their courses. The strategies below have been suggested by CPS faculty members who have some of the highest course evaluation response rates:
Provide timely and consistent feedback throughout your course. Of course, this is important for many reasons beyond just student surveys, but CPS faculty have found that students will reciprocate their instructor’s level of feedback and engagement. As one CPS faculty member, Dawn Cisewski, put it: “By seeing how invested I was, I think [my students] were more interested in providing feedback to me. One of my students stated that my investment in the course made them try harder in the class.”
Personally encourage and remind students to participate. Announcement emails from the College are one thing, but a personalized request directly from you as the instructors goes a lot further in motivating students to complete the survey.
Provide an incentive for students to complete the survey by incorporating it into your course grading structure. For example, you could award all students a small amount of additional points on a given assignment if at least 90% of the class completes the survey. Please note that some academic programs may have grading policies that do not allow this. You should contact your academic unit if you are unsure or have questions.
Set aside a few minutes in class for the survey. If you are teaching a class that has an on-ground component, ask students to bring laptops (if they have them) and block off 5-10 minutes at the end of your last course for them to complete the survey.
Important Note: While there is much that you can do to encourage your students to fill out their surveys, it is important to bear in mind that they are always optional for students. Instructors may not require students to complete a course evaluation survey.
Got another suggestion for how your fellow faculty colleagues could get more of their students to fill out their surveys? Share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!