Section 7.2 Mid-Semester

Section 7.2 Mid-Semester

Section 7.2 Mid-Semester

A fundamental problem with SET is its reliance on student altruism. Students voluntarily take time to reflect on their learning experiences within a given module or programme, rate the issues addressed by the SET method, and provide constructive feedback on ways to improve teaching without benefiting from these improvements themselves.

It comes as little surprise then that research has stated students would benefit from employing earlier feedback procedures (Hendry, Cumming, Lyon, & Gordon, 2001; Laverie, 2002; Narasimhan, 2001; Richardson, 2005). Mid-semester evaluations largely fulfil the more formative, developmental goal of evaluation and inviting student feedback mid-semester not only provides an indication of the suitability of content, pace, and style, but also demonstrates a commitment to improvement, a desire to involve students, is associated with higher student participation rates in the final, end of term summative SET survey (Brown, 2008; Price & Goldman, 1981).

Smart, Kelley, and Conant (2003) posit that many academics employ a more continuous approach to evaluation, engaging in a process of evaluation, not just a series of one-off measures. One potential problem with this, however, is that if not adequately controlled and conducted in conjunction with other active modules/module co-ordinators students may find themselves faced with a litany of evaluation methods. Regardless of how unobtrusive or innovative these are there is a very real risk that students will suffer from feedback fatigue, affecting the quality and validity of the information they provide.

If conducted properly some of the advantages identified by Fisher and Miller (2008) include:

i) A holistic, rather than a piecemeal, approach to evaluation

ii) Increases student awareness of how to contribute to, and be better prepared for, tutorials and class discussion & participation, and greater sense of reflection

iii) Can address unique concerns of a cohort in ‘real time’, limiting the development of potential problems

iv) Can improve the teaching & learning partnership, since the questions employed by the lecturer will reflect the course convenor’s expectations, while the feedback provided give the lecturer some indication of the students’ expectations

Activity 7.2

Which methods are most and least suited to mid-semester SET?'

Most Suitable Methods Least Suitable Methods

Back to 7.1 Continue to Section 7.3 Back To Section 7

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