Reviewing and Analyzing Feedback from Student Course Perceptions Surveys

This Teaching Tip provides guidance on processing the results from your Student Course Perceptions (SCP) Surveys, formerly and colloquially referred to as course evaluations. The guidance aims to help you identify and celebrate what’s working well in your teaching and prioritize ideas that you may find helpful as you develop or enhance your courses.

It can sometimes be difficult to receive and process feedback even when we earnestly want to make changes. Before continuing, you may wish to read the CTE Teaching Tip: Receiving and Giving Feedback.

To analyze your SCP surveys, please respond to the following questions. You may find it helpful to record your responses as a way of taking time to process the feedback.

  1. When you review the quantitative and qualitative evaluation data, what are your first impressions? What stands out for you?
  2. Identify key strengths.
    1. List the questions that received the top 3 quantitative scores (use mean scores if available).
    2. Read students’ responses to the open-ended questions that highlight strengths (what helped students learn and most important things learned), and list the comments mentioned frequently (e.g., “really cares about students,” “tests are fair”). Then read the comments again, tallying the number of students who mention each item on your list. Rank the items, with the highest number being first, then focus on the top 3-5 items.

      If you have a manageable number of forms, you may choose instead to copy all comments into a word processing file or spreadsheet, and organize them according to themes that arise (e.g., attitude toward students, aligned course design), then you can tally the responses that you listed under each theme to discover which ones were discussed most often and create your rankings from those numbers.
  3. Identify key areas for changes.
    1. List the questions that received the lowest 3 quantitative scores (use mean scores if available).
    2. Repeat the instructions for question 2b, except read the responses to the open-ended question about suggested changes to make.
  4. Analyze and reflect.
    1. Review the list of items that received the most comments. How do you account for the key strengths and areas for change? What is it about your course and/or your teaching that helps to further explain your results?
    2. What will you do differently next time? Use the answers to this question to help inform changes you will make to the course design, implementation, and learning environment the next time you teach this course.

Refer to the CTE Teaching Tip: Teaching Effectiveness and the Student Course Perceptions Survey, which provides teaching practices and strategies relevant to the SCP survey.

If you have questions about your SCP surveys or would like to discuss them further with an educational developer, please contact Trevor Holmes or Mary Power at the Centre for Teaching Excellence.

This tip sheet was adapted from a CTE New Faculty event.


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If you would like support applying these tips to your own teaching, CTE staff members are here to help.  View the CTE Support page to find the most relevant staff member to contact. 

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This Creative Commons license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon our work non-commercially, as long as they credit us and indicate if changes were made. Use this citation format: Teaching Effectiveness and the Student Course Perceptions Survey. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo.