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I have had some mixed feedback on the same course.  One student was so keen on my work that she named me in response to a question of who was significant for her studies and made some very generous comment.

In the anonymous feedback for the same course, I generally got good feedback but for each category, there was one who wrote negative comments.  I can entirely understand that there are different opinions and students should give their honest views.  However, some of the feedback is demonstrably (or could be demonstrated as) untrue - e.g. feedback that messages were not replied to.  I am sure that one rogue person who seems to maliciously criticise would be ignored in the greater context but I wonder whether there should be a need to demonstrate criticisms are reasonable.  I suppsoe this might affect anonymity.

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Only criticism, Patrick?


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I am not sure what you are asking.  I had about 10 students answer the evaluation.  Most of the feedback was good or very good but in each category, there was one very negative response - it was probably one very dissatisfied student each time but it could, of course, be a different one for each category.  Some of it could be demonstrated as untrue (e.g, saying I did not reply to messages) where some are more subjective (e.g. subject knowledge) although about 90% of the other students rated me highly for this.

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I think its difficult, as if you have to prove negative comments, then you should need to do the same for positive.

As long as you dont receive warnings based on a single feedback, but are just made aware of them, then I dont see the issue.

The other way forward would be to dispense with the anonymous feedback, and everyone puts their name to their observations of course/studies/tutors.

Personally, I'd take it for what it appears, a disgruntled student, if there were a couple then Id probably be looking to see what i could have done better.

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Thanks for the comment, Gary.

I suppose the issue is that it is possible to prove or disprove some comments whether positive or negative (eg about replying to messages, returning assignments).  Others such as whether the tutor knows the material is less easy to prove positively or negatively. 

I do not think we can entirely dismiss the anonymity.  I suppose some negative comments can be dismissed if there is supporting evidence to the contrary.

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Sorry Patrick, I should have been clearer. Just noting that you've singled out criticism for justification which I would find odd on a feedback form. On the question of anonymity, I have doubts that it is necessary or leads to balance. I suspect this is one of those eternal arguments that swings back and forth. I have some advice though: If someone says you're being an arse, you should ignore them. If everyone says you're being an arse, you should at least consider the possibility! What you've described sounds like one person.

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I think that feedback has to be anonymous really as people will feel they cannot really say what they think.  However, there is a responsibility for people to be honest and to claim that I did not reply to messages seems dishonest.