Course Evaluation Data and Information

for English 511: Theory and Research in Composition

Fall Semester, 2005

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.

In some cases, where appropriate, I have included anonymously written comments from the students in the course. If so, I have created a kind of "dialogue" from some of these comments by interspersing my own (italicized) thoughts and reflections, and on 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 University-Wide Evaluation of Instruction 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). 5.0 is the highest mean score possible (every student would give a score of 5 on that question).


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


Ave. Score
1. The instructor stated course objectives/outcomes.
2. The instructor was receptive to students outside the classroom.
3. The instructor explained difficult material well.
4. The instructor was enthusiastic about teaching the course.
5. The instructor was prepared for class.
6. The instructor gave prompt and useful feedback.
7. The instructor effectively used instructional technology.
8. The instructor consistently treated students with respect.
9. Overall, the instructor was an effective teacher.
10. The course readings were valuable aids to learning.
11. The course assignments were valuable aids to learning.
12. This course was intellectually challenging and stimulating.
13. This course improved my knowledge of the subject.
14. Overall, this course was excellent.

Average of all questions :



What these numbers are telling me: In this section of ENG 511, I switched books and chose two anthologies that were very heavy on theory and ligher on applications to instruction or research studies. I supplemented the readings with several important research studies and some instructional literature, but on my customary formative (anonymous) midterm evaluation, students clearly expressed anxiety about the lack of focus on the application of theory to praxis. I focused more on that in the second half of the course, and had a meeting with three other faculty who routinely teach the course to consider this issue and see if we could align our approaches a little better. The numbers are strong on my teaching (and all the numbers are well between "agree" and "strongly agree"), but questions about the readings and assignments show this anxiety. In my next iteration of the course, I plan to make more explicit the connection between research in the field and classroom instruction (most of the students who enroll in ENG 511 are taking it as a required course for teaching their own sections of first-year composition as TAs the following year). Students also told me on the midterm evaluation that they didn't find some of the short assignments especially engaging, so I plan to develop more interesting hybrid assignments that link theory to pedagogy more clearly.

Anonymous Written Comments from Students (from the evaluations):



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