Opinion | University of Iowa students should fill out their ACE course evaluations

Assessing the Classroom Environment, or ACE course evaluations are sent out at the end of each semester. Students are able to provide feedback about a course and professor by answering several questions.


Tate Hildyard

Photo Illustration.

Madeleine Willis, News Reporter

Students at the University of Iowa are given two opportunities each year to provide feedback to their professors.

Assessing the Classroom Environment, or ACE, are end of the semester evaluations that allow students to share their opinions about their instructors and courses.

Course evaluations are important to both students and professors alike

The UC Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning provides suggestions on how to increase participation in course evaluations.

Incentives can reward students to fill out the evaluations. Some incentives UC Berkeley recommends are making the evaluation an assignment on the course syllabus or offering points for the completion of the course evaluations.

Other helpful encouragements that could inspire students to fill out the evaluations are informing students about the purpose of filling out evaluations and how they can benefit themselves as well as their future peers.

Another way to ensure the completion of course evaluations is to reserve class time for them. If professors want their evaluations completed they should set aside some time in class to have all of the students fill them out.

Why wouldn’t students take the time to fill out course evaluations when they are given the opportunity to speak their minds.

Stanford University’s academic advising websites says that with the end of term craziness course evaluations slip through the cracks.

Course evaluations are at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to studying for exams, taking exams, and finishing final papers.

Stanford suggests students fill out their course evaluations for three good reasons

  • They help students reflect on their progress throughout the course.
  • They help professors identify what is working in a course and what could use improvement.
  • They help fellow students. Evaluations improve future courses and aid other students in their course selection process.

In an article from NPR, “Student Course Evaluations Get An ‘F’” Anya Kamentez writes: “Student ratings are high-stakes. They come up when faculty are being considered for tenure or promotions. In fact, they’re often the only method a university uses to monitor the quality of teaching.”

Phillip Stark, chairman of the statistics department at UC Berkeley, writes that students only fill out the evaluations when they are dissatisfied or happy with the course, and this skews course evaluation data.

Course evaluations would be the most useful if just everyone took the time to fill them out, but according to the Baylor Lariat, only 60 percent of them do.

As soon as they open, students should fill out their course evaluations before it is too late, and it flies under their radar. It would be a shame to waste an opportunity to provide feedback that is beneficial to both UI students and professors.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.