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The Quick Course Diagnosis (QCD)

An outside facilitator guides a class or sample of students through two activities: an individual satisfaction rating and a small group brainstorming session.

To assure anonymity and encourage honest and candid responses, instructors are encouraged to use a facilitator/consultant who is not connected to the course or program being evaluated. (Contact Tracy Price, CTE Faculty Director to arrange a QCD.)

A QCD is usually administered during the last 20 to 30 minutes of a course.

Step-By-Step Procedure

  1. The consultant is introduced as someone who is there to gather information regarding their satisfaction and what they perceive as the strengths and weaknesses of the course (not as someone who is there to evaluate the instructor.) After introducing the consultant, the instructor leaves the room.

    To put the students at ease and assure anonymity and confidentiality. The consultant assures the students that
    • the instructor has requested the QCD,
    • participation is voluntary,
    • and the results are confidential between the instructor and the consultant.
  2. Index cards are distributed to all students and they are asked to write a word or a phrase that describes the course. Based on their word or phrase, they are asked to rate their satisfaction with the course on a scale of 1 to 5. The consultant then collects these from the students.
  3. After the index card activity, the students work in groups of 4 or 5 and brainstorm the strengths and weaknesses of the course or program. This works best by having the questions typed and giving each group one piece of paper to record their responses. The members of the group take turns listing strengths and weaknesses. After all group members have had a chance to list the strengths and weaknesses, they are asked as a group to rank order the top three strengths and the three most troublesome weaknesses.
  4. If time permits, the top strengths and weaknesses can be listed on the board and the entire class can come to consensus on the top three strengths and weaknesses.
  5. The consultant thanks the students for participating and assures them that the instructor will hear their feedback.
  6. The consultant compiles the results and meets with the instructor within 24 to 48 hours to review the feedback and brainstorm possible solutions or next steps.

The Instructor's Follow Up Response to the Students

It is essential that the instructor responds to the students' feedback as soon as possible and includes the following:

  1. Thanks them for their feedback. This reinforces an atmosphere of mutual respect.
  2. Shares with the students the feedback that stood out and lets them know what action will be taken and why.


Revak, Maj Marie, USAF Academy, CO The "Quick Course Diagnosis" (QCD): A Qualitative Program Assessment Tool, Professional and Organizational Development Annual Conference, October 2001, St. Louis IL .

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