Student evaluation at the conclusion of a course is required for short-term administrative purposes, but the most meaningful evaluation comes after time and experience reveal the value (or lack of value) of coursework in "the real world". I am fortuate to receive unsolicited communication from former students after they have graduated and had an opportunity to use what we worked on in my courses. Some notes arrive several years after the student graduated.
".... my [allopathic medical] classes are set up in blocks, and (now) we are focusing only on anatomy. ... Since the first few lectures, I came to realize that my classes with you had prepared me really well, so mostly I wanted to send you this letter to say thanks! What I encountered in vert org and vert development saved me a lot of stress with anatomy- proof that these classes are really important for people going into medicine! In particular, the work in histology and experience of taking a practical exam were very valuable, and I owe my passing the first few exams to your help!"
"I just started vet school .... [and] want to thank you for providing me with superior training in anatomy. Already, I am benefiting from having taken your thorough and challenging courses. Yesterday in my anatomy class, we studied the bones of the thoracic limb. I remembered a [bone in a bag] question on one of your practical exams, and I remembered that it's important for me to be able to orient the humerus every which way (medial/lateral, proximal/distal), to figure out whether a bone belongs to the left or right side of the body, and to be able to recognize landmarks that help me distinguish the humerus from similar bones (like the femur).
"Today, we started dissecting the dog. My group did a pretty good job, I think - mostly because we did most of the work with our hands and blunt probes (a technique you taught), whereas some other groups were hacking away with scalpels. I hate to say it, but I have already heard many people pronounce "dissect" incorrectly! Which reminds me - I am also taking a course in medical terminology, in which we will study the Latin and Greek roots of medical terms. I think it is great that you put so much emphasis on that in all your classes at Hamilton.
"Thank you for giving me a quality biology education at Hamilton, for making things challenging and interesting, and for making me think outside of the box. I really enjoyed all your exams - both written (crossword puzzles and cartoons) and the practicals (slabs of meat from the butcher)."
"I did very well my first two semesters and it was thanks to buckling down and the lessons I learned from great Profs at Hamilton, especially yourself. The approach to learning that I picked up in your classes really carried me through my first two semesters of Physician Assistant studies and is something I'll keep with me as I continue my education throughout my career. I thought of you and your class often this year, especially in my cadaver dissection class and its practicals, which were a breeze compared to your old tests.
"I ... thought I would let you know that Hamilton prepared me well [for graduate school]. In particular, I had one professor at Hamilton who delighted in throwing handouts, slides and information at us from every direction and source, all the while expecting us to integrate those bits and pieces into a bigger picture. Sound familiar? :-)
"One other thing that has come in very handy - learning Greek and Latin roots (thank you Prof. Miller!!). Who knew that a guesstimated 130% of all scientific medical words are more or less easily explained by looking at the words and their roots contained in them.
"Last week I scored about 30 extra brownie points when I correctly identified the anatomical snuff box - again, thank you Prof. Miller for making sure we learned some odd bits and pieces along with all the Greek and Latin."
"I have learned a lot [working in a sports medicine physical therapy office] and would say that when I first started I had a great grasp on many PT terms, exercises, and muscles thanks in most part to your Vertebrate Organization class at Hamilton."
"I just started an [allopathic medical school] anatomy class this semester ... the ... professor is ... not as good as you were, but with my background I can tell that I'm definitely at an advantage compared to the rest of the class. Oh, by the way, I don't know if you had your first practical yet, but don't let them off easy. Tell them that the agony that you put them through now will pay off later."
"Gross anatomy is ... quite the experience. ... please thank Prof. Miller for making us learn cross sections in Vert. Development, because in the beginning I was not as dumbfounded as many students were with the human cross sections. ... I'm also doing really well in histology ..."
Other thoughts about learning are
presented in pages linked to this one: "Responsibilities",
on lessons and grades",
is good and proper examination?"
does it mean to curve grades?"