What would happen if reading evaluations a continuous process rather than an event only following a class? I'm wondering whether there should be any surprises in the post-course evaluations.

Fred Mosteller of Princeton is often credited with the development of the one-minute paper. Basically, students at the conclusion of each class session are asked to think about one topic for one minute, and then write on that topic for one minute. "What would you like to see more of that we did in class today?" Or, "Why would you consider studying more about the main topic of today's session?" " What is one thing that you learned today?" "What is one thing that if it were dropped from this class, that would make the class better?" "How will you use one thing that we covered in class today during the next week?"

Here is a two part question "How would you rate today's class on a scale from 1 to 10?" Then ask "What specifically was done to keep this class from being one point lower? For example you rated the class a 4, what kept it from being a 3?" An alternative "What could be done to raise your evaluation from a 4 to a 4.5?"

These questions are not only formative evaluation questions; the are interventions to get students to think in positive improvement terms, to take charge of their own learning, and to give the professor some information about how students are reacting to the course. Feedback from the professor in terms of changes being made, completes the loop and may head off surprises at the end of the course. Students may find themselves bonded to the professor, because they and their feedback, was influential immediately.