Teaching Metrics

Student course evaluations are a complicated genre. Recent research confirms what we have long known: student evaluations often reflect institutional and systemic stereotypes and biases. Despite the fraught nature of these evaluations, I value my students’ feedback, and pay attention to the trends, patterns and particular suggestions that my students share. I also ask students to regularly reflect on their own writing and their experience in class. I teach students the value of formative assessment by creating opportunities, throughout the semester for them to evaluate our course, give feedback, and make recommendations  for how I can better help them achieve course goals.

The following metrics are a selection of questions I find significant from my course evaluations at Purdue. These questions represent what’s most important to me as an instructor, and I pay attention to patterns and trends in these statistics. The scores below are averaged across all of my courses taught at Purdue, and represent how students evaluated me on a 5 point scale (1=strongly disagree. 5=strongly agree).

First Year Composition

Selection of student evaluation questions from three sections of first year composition

QuestionsScores out of five
My instructor is open to differences in perspective.4.8
My instructor shows respect for diverse groups of people.4.8
When I have a question or comment I know it will be respected.4.7
This course emphasizes revision as an important part of the composing process.4.6
This course helped me adjust my writing to different audiences and purposes4.7

Qualitative Feedback from Students in first year writing

  • “Ms. McMullin does an excellent job of getting to know her students, and in doing so can give feedback that is not only relevant to the student’s writing, but also to the stunt’s life, goals, past, etc. Her choices in reading assignments prepare her student’s for their writing, class discussion, and also broaden their knowledge and their ways of analyzing.”
  • “Very approachable and makes an obvious effort to help individual students. Does a very good job of tying projects to each other and the whole semester as one big project.”
  • “Michelle McMullin does a wonderful job explaining confusing topics and provides beneficial feedback when students need clarification or revision assistance. She also has a wonderful way of connecting with each student and encourages them to not be afraid of writing and/or expressing themselves.”

Professional and Technical Communication

Average scores from selected student evaluation questions across eight sections of professional writing courses at Purdue. Questions are evaluated on a 5 point scale (1=strongly disagree, 5=strongly agree). 

QuestionsScores out of five
My instructor shows respect for diverse groups of people.4.8
This course helps me understand ways audiences affect my writing.4.5
Collaborative work is a valuable part of this course.4.5
This course contributes significantly to my professional growth.4.6

Qualitative feedback from professional and technical writing students

  • “This was easily the most organized course I have ever been in and I appreciate that more than I could ever express! Excellent communication and very clear expectations.”
  • “She’s very understanding of student’s lives and situations. Also very understanding of different student majors and how projects can be slightly modified to be more beneficial to individuals.”
  • “Michelle is the best instructor I have had at Purdue University. She is so invested in each of her students and is truly interested in what we are doing and that feels really incredible to have someone care so much. She worked so hard to make this course something that was functional and beneficial for everyone, and we were given the opportunity to shape the course of the class.”