Is it possible to increase response rates?

Specific techniques can be used to boost response rates, including instructor encouragement and standardized communication. UNC Charlotte's Web-based evaluation process already includes standard communications. Faculty can also contribute to increased response rates using some of the following techniques:

  • Ask your students to check their e-mail daily to complete their online survey for each course and periodically remind students to complete their Web-based course evaluations before the deadline for the current term.
  • Feel free to e-mail your students to encourage them to fill out their course evaluations. You may want to communicate the value of course evaluations, providing examples of how you have used them to improve your courses in the past. Emphasize that results are completely anonymous and confidential. Students are not identified individually and results are not available to instructors until after final exams.
  • Remember to check your response rates regularly and tailor your communications with your students accordingly. To monitor response rates in real time, return to the home page of this site, click the "Access Your Reports Here!" link, and then log in with your NinerNET username and password.

Withholding access to student grades until they have completed their evaluations is technically possible, but university policy does not make course evaluations compulsory. In any case, studies indicate punitive measures such as grade withholding are counterproductive. Students respond more favorably to positive reinforcement, open communication, and persistent messages. Response rates tend to increase if students are informed that their survey responses will improve the course for other students who take the course in the future. Therefore, faculty participation in improving response rates is essential.