Course Evaluations and Student Evaluations – Understanding the Value of the “Opt Out” and “No Opinion” Response in Your Survey

When developing your course evaluation and student evaluation questionnaire it is important to not only consider the types of questions you will ask, but if you will offer an ‘opt out’ or ‘does not apply’ option .  It can be important to offer these options to ensure that you are getting accurate feedback from your respondents.  If the ‘no opinion’ or ‘opt out’ is not offered, your data may not truly represent the opinions and experience of the sample of students you are surveying.

Here are some opt out examples for your course evaluation or student evaluation:

  • Rating Scale Questions with ‘no opinion’
How would you rate your Instructors knowledge on the course subject matter?Poor___ Fair___  Good____ Excellent___ No Opinion____
  • Named Answer Category with ‘none of the above’ option
Why did you take this course? Major requirement____ Minor requirement____ Pleasure____Elective_____ None of the above_____
  • Named Answer Category with ‘other’ option
What other courses did you take in the same semester?English 101_____Math 104_____Sociology 103______Other_______


If you don’t offer the option to ‘not answer’ a specific question on your questionnaire, results can be biased and lead you to conclusions and actions that may not be accurate.  ‘No Opinion’ or ‘None of the Above’ can be as compelling a piece of information as any other response when evaluating your student survey or course survey.

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