Designing evaluation questions
Different types of evaluation question design and how they can be used
You can use different types of questions to evaluate the impact of your teaching on students’ learning. The types of questions you choose will naturally depend on what it is you want to find out. This resource gives an overview of three different types of evaluation question designs and how they can be used.
Likert scale questions
Likert scale questions ask students to respond on a numerical scale, rather than a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. For example, you might ask your students to respond to a series of statements about an individual session or a whole course/programme on a scale of 1 (‘strongly disagree’) to 5 (‘strongly agree’). Statements can be wide ranging, such as:
- ‘The reading list has been helpful for my assignments’
- ‘The examples provided have helped me to understand key concepts’
- ‘I was given opportunities to provide feedback on the course’
Students could also be asked to reflect on their own learning, responding to statements such as ‘I have come to each session well prepared to participate’. Whilst evaluation forms that use Likert scales will give you an overview of what is helping and hindering students’ learning, it won’t tell you why this is the case. For example, if overall students disagree with the statement that ‘The session was at the right pace’ you won’t know if it was too fast or too slow. Including an additional open-ended question(s) that allows students to elaborate on their responses can therefore be important.
‘Minute papers’ are so-called because they usually focus on a limited number of questions (2 or 3) and are therefore quick for students to complete. Questions are often used to evaluate individual teaching sessions and can be distributed at any point (eg at the start, during, or at the end of a session). Questions can take any format but are commonly open-ended. Some examples of minute paper questions include:
- How will you use your learning from today in your next assignment?
- What aspect(s) of today’s session particularly helped your learning?
- What aspect(s) of today’s session are you least confident about and/or are confused about?
These can help students to think about the learning process and what they need to do next, as well as give you important information that you can follow up on. For students unused to completing these sorts of evaluations, prompts can be particularly helpful in guiding their reflection. For example, you might include the following:
- How will you use your learning from today in your next assignment? (eg will you follow up with any of the readings, summarise your notes etc.)
- What aspects(s) of today’s session particularly helped your learning? (eg lecturer using diagrams to explain the key concepts, working in small groups, having access to the handouts to read in advance)
- What aspect(s) of today’s session are you least confident about and/or are confused about? (eg is there a concept you don’t quite ‘get’ or a task you’re not sure how to approach?)
Alternatively, these can be phrased as statements for students to complete, such as ‘To prepare for this session I … (eg read a much as I could, consulted my tutorial notes, etc)’.
Multiple choice questionnaire (MCQ)
Forms that give students a range of choices also prompt reflection and can be quickly completed. They can focus student responses to ensure you get feedback on specific aspects of your teaching or students’ learning in an individual session, series of sessions or across a whole course.
For example, you might ask questions about a whole course, such as ‘Which of the following did you find most engaging during the course?’
- Group presentations
- Discussion with peers
- Guest presenters
- Writing assignments
- Other (please specify)