Evidence and research-based strategies for enhancing student ratings reflect best teaching practices. These include:
- Ensure Course Alignment: Implementing course alignment results in explicitly linking course learning objectives to teaching and learning activities, classroom assessments, and evaluation.
- Increase Relevance: Today’s students are busy, technologically savvy, and multitaskers. To help them, we can provide background knowledge in our subject areas. We need to share the rationale behind our designed learning activities and assessments. Make invisible expectations explicit by beginning class sessions by stating, “We are learning this because …” When students understand why and how the material is relevant to them, they find more motivation to study and end up rating the course more highly.
- Establish clear criteria for grading. All students want good grades, and they want to know precisely how to get those grades. Today, college students have experienced criteria sheets and rubrics since elementary school, and they want the same in college. They want to know where they stand on any given day in the semester.
- Create an inclusive environment. Inclusive pedagogy at its core is a student-centered approach to teaching that faculty create an inviting and engaging learning environment for all the students with varied backgrounds, interests, and physical and cognitive abilities in the classroom. Take deliberate steps to ensure that all students feel welcomed and supported in the classroom.
- Get formative feedback early. The end-of-course survey is summative. Although it aims to help us improve future courses, it does not enable us to respond to the needs of the students currently enrolled in the class. Formative feedback collected early in the course accomplishes that goal.