6 ways to boost student evaluation response rates

Student feedback has never been more valuable, but you need the majority of students to participate or you miss out on reliably actionable data. If your course evaluation response rates are less than 50%, you’re not getting the feedback you need to make meaningful changes. As you connect with students virtually, how can you make sure they complete their evals (when you’re not there to hand out and collect paper copies)? 

Digital classes require digital course evaluations. It may seem tough to make the change from in-person to online, but digitizing your student surveys has significant benefits: 

  • More efficient survey distribution and data collection
  • Real-time reporting to faculty, administrators, and leadership
  • More dynamic data analysis by course, demographics, and other key criteria

The design of your course evaluation is also important. If you’re considering changes to your evaluation strategy, take a step back and first determine what you’re trying to measure and how the information will be used. Because students take courses across departments and programs, make sure your base questions and survey length are consistent, and keep questions clear, specific, and targeted.

Once you’ve got your strategy in place, here’s how you can encourage student participation in course evaluations and create a more complete data set.

1. Make access effortless.

Make sure your surveys integrate directly with your student portal or LMS, so students can easily find their course evaluations where they already spend time. 

2. Keep it consistent. 

Standardized templates and question banks make it easy for you to administer surveys and even easier for students to provide thoughtful feedback. And when your colleagues use similar templates, you’ll uncover campus-wide trends. 

3. Make it mobile.

Put your survey in the palm of their hands. Find a survey tool that works great on any device, so students can participate anywhere, anytime. Easy access = higher response rates.  

4. Give them more than one way in.  

Students may be more likely to click a link in an email than respond to a pop-up in their LMS. Give them multiple (automated) reminders and direct, authenticated access to the survey – no jumping through hoops required. 

5. Make it mandatory.

No survey, no grade. If your policies allow it, use your digital evaluation tool to gain close to 100% response rates by withholding access to assignments or grades until the task is complete. 

6. Show students their feedback matters. 

Let students review the results of specific survey questions. They’ll see how their input stacks up against their classmates, and you’ll demonstrate your institution’s commitment to improvement based on what matters most: your students.

The bottom line: When you make it easier for students to complete their evaluations, response rates skyrocket. A digital course evaluation solution makes it convenient for students to provide feedback anytime, anywhere.

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