Course Evaluation Data and Information

for English 350: Internship in Writing and Editing

Fall Semester, 2002

Prof. Chris M. Anson

Before you begin: I strongly believe that teaching well is a lifelong pursuit--an art to be explored and developed, and a science that constantly presents new challenges and opportunities for analysis and growth. As a teacher, I am very much a learner. I need to reflect on what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. Student evaluations are one source of information for me to reflect and improve. As such, I use them formatively, as information helpful in the improvement of a significant part of my professional life: teaching students and teaching other teachers.

But student evaluations can also have a more public function, displaying areas of my teaching that students find to be strong, and areas they find to be in need of improvement. Below, you will see evaluation data from the course and term indicated above, along with a bit of reflection from me about what I see in these numbers and comments. Please use this information responsibly. If you're deciding whether to take a course from me, consider what you see here not only as evidence of ability, but as evidence of my willingness to listen to your peers and improve my teaching in ways that respond to their justified concerns and needs. If you're a fellow professional looking at these data because you want to learn about or evaluate my work, please consider them only as one part of an overall plan for teacher effectiveness and a lifelong pursuit of excellence.

Before you see the evaluative data, you'll see the number of students who took the course, and the grade breakdown in the course. While there is no proven relationship between grades and teaching evaluations, it's important for you to consider the evaluation data in light of the nature of the course, how large or small is was, and how students performed.

Following the numerical data are anonymously written comments from the students in the course. I have created a kind of "dialogue" from some of these comments by interspersing my own (italicized) thoughts and reflections. In some cases, I've made notes about ways to address specific concerns the next time I teach the course. By working on areas of concern, I can then match student opinions in future courses against those here to see whether the changes are having a positive impact on the course and on students.


The following chart shows each question on the NC State Department of English Course Evaluation Form. In the first box after the question appears the weighted mean of the results for that question (based on a scale of 1-5, as shown below). In the second box is a comparison with the weighted mean on that question for all courses taught in the English Department that semester. 5.0 is the highest mean score possible (every student would give a score of 5 on that question). Numbers in red indicate that the average is higher than that for the department.


Score of 5:
Strongly Agree
Score of 4:
Score of 3:
Score of 2:
Score of 1:
Strongly Disagree


Mean Score
(whole dept.)
1. The instructor presented materials clearly and effectively.
2. The assignments were relevant to course objectives.
3. The instructor's expectations on assignments were clearly explained before the assign. was due.
4. The instructor returned graded papers in time to help me with the next assignment.
5. The instructor's comments on my work explained what I had done well.
6. The instructor willingly made himself available for assistance outside class.
7. The instructor stimulated interest in the subject and motivated learning.
8. The instructor challenged me to draw upon my strongest intellectual resources.
9. The instructor was well-prepared and used class time well.
10. The instructor treated me with professional courtesy.
11. The instructor encouraged student participation.
12. The instructor held me to a high standard of performance.
13. Overall, the instructor did a good job in teaching this course.

Average of all 13 scores (Anson):


Average of all 13 scores (whole department):



What these numbers are telling me:

The "crucial" Question #13 average is about on par with the rest of the Department's average. Compared with results from my other courses, some of the scores are somewhat lower than my usual scores, especially in areas relating to the nature of the assignments in the course and the "subject matter" of the readings and discussions. Because this course is designed to help students reflect on their internship experiences and link them to readings on professional writing, it's probably necessary to reinforce those relationships more fully. Students generally felt that the internship itself should earn them their credits, and that class time should be limited to, as one student put it, "two or three meetings over the semester." Time and space for reflection is, to me, crucial, and is supported by the research on interships and service learning. Clearly, students didn't fully understand that importance, or felt that the relationships between the readings/discussion and their own experiences were not as clear as they could have been. Rethinking the selection of readings might help, as well as finding more deliberate ways to connect those to their internships. The score on #13 suggests that overall, students were satisfied with the class and my teaching of it.

Anonymous Written Comments from Students (from the evaluations) that prompted specific reflection on teaching:

Dr. Anson is a good guy. :-) Sometimes class was too long. A really small class might be a better approach.

Because students were on-site at their professional internships for many hours per week, the class may have seemed like an "addition" to the experience. We typically met for about two hours once a week--not all that much for a credit-bearing course, but perhaps perceptually it seemed like a lot of time devoted to reflecting on the experience. I'd like to keep thinking about this perception, and perhaps work harder to show the importance of standing back from the internship experience in order to think and talk about it and what's being gained from it. Also, there was a lot of round-robin sharing, and some students may have felt like other students' internships were not relevant to their own needs and focus. It might be interesting to experiment with a discussion method in which other students are compelled to ask questions about or take greater interest in their peers' experiences. These further comments further suggest a need to rethinking the relationship between the internship and the time spent in the course.

I really enjoyed the internship. I think that the courseload was slightly heavy with the internship added to it.

I thought that Dr. Anson did a great job. The experience was great. The only thing is that the class tended to be a little lengthy. I think email or other communication [instead] would have been effective and beneficial.

The total work I've done for this class is on part with a 4-credit-hour course.

I think the usage of the articles was a good idea, especially because the articles coincided with what I was going through. Overall I think the course was helpful.


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