It's a Good Time to Collect Midterm Feedback

The KNIGHTLYnews is an online forum where FWS instructors and other teachers of writing can swap and share ideas for best classroom practice. Weekly posts are designed to help teachers develop lesson plans and writing assignments, and respond to classroom challenges by introducing new teaching tools and sharing emerging pedagogical ideas. Posts also direct readers to program and campus resources that support teaching and learning, and provide opportunities for peer collaboration and mentorship.

We are quickly approaching the mid-semester peak. This is a great time to ask your FWS students for feedback, to consider how you might support a student who is struggling, and to re-examine learning goals as to you reach for the end of the semester and final writing projects.

My colleagues and I at the Knight Institute recommend that FWS instructors request midterm feedback from students. Some of you may have other measures in place (like more frequent reflections or exit notes), but if not, please consider asking students how things are going with respect to pacing, reading load, classroom engagement, etc.

You will find, in the Indispensable Reference for Teachers of First-Year Writing Seminars, a sample FWS Midterm Evaluation that asks students to consider what they find most and least successful, interesting, effective, and pleasurable about the course. Here are some ways that you might collect such information from students:

  • Students “take stock” together in an open whole class discussion (possibly preceded by a free write and/or small group discussion)
  • Students "take stock" together using a real time poll (raising hands, Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter)
  • Students complete an anonymous survey (Canvas quiz/survey tool, Survey Monkey, Qualtrics)
  • Students write a reflection and submit as an Assignment (just for you) or on a Discussion Board or GoogleDoc (shared with all class participants)

Follow this link to the Indispensable Reference for FWS Instructors for some questions that you can use as is or customize as you see fit ==> Optional Midterm Evaluation

For the most part, I use these six questions (also copied below) in my own classes, and I add two more:

  • How did you work toward building a kind, dynamic, and rigorous classroom community?
  • How could you be a more brave learner, a learner who tries new things, takes risks, and helps others to do the same? Set one or two BRAVE LEARNING goals for yourself. 

FWS Mid-Term Evaluation

When you answer these six questions, you might keep in mind the following topics: in-class discussion of and work on writing; discussion of readings; reading assignments; writing assignments; conferences; feedback on your writing.

  1. Here are some things I think are going well in this course—let’s keep doing them:
  2. Here are some suggestions and recommendations for the remainder of the semester:
  3. Here are some personal reflections about my work on writing so far this semester:
  4. Here are some personal reflections about the reading load so far this semester:
  5. Here are some personal reflections about how well I think the reading and writing assignments relate to each other:
  6. Here are some personal reflections about my work/life circumstances so far this semester:

Please share your additional ideas with me:

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