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Grading and Evaluating

Student Evaluation of Teaching - 1J7

The approved policies below allow for the implementation of an eleven item common Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument (SETCI), a SET administration policy, a SET use policy, as well as a policy for continued review of the SET process.

  1. Policy on Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument (University-Wide Core)

    The following eleven questions will be used on all end-of-semester student evaluation of teaching questionnaires for all approved course types. Currently, exempted course types include courses in which more than 50 percent of the regular instruction occurs online as well as lab, studio, performance, field placement, practica and internship courses.

    1. Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument Questions:

      1. The course requirements were clearly communicated in the syllabus.

      2. The instructor was available to help students outside of class.

      3. The instructor provided timely feedback on student work (exams, assignments, creative activities, etc.).

      4. The instructor provided useful feedback on student work (exams, assignments, creative activities, etc.).

      5. The class was well organized.

      6. The instructor was prepared for class.

      7. The instructor was responsive to student questions.

      8. The instructor explained difficult material clearly.

      9. The instructor used teaching strategies that enhanced my understanding of the course content.

      10. The activities/assignments were useful in helping me learn.

      11. Overall, the instruction in this course enhanced my learning of the course content.

        The instrument uses a five-point scale: Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neither Disagree Nor Agree, Agree, and Strongly Agree. These items need to be described in ways that allow for students to leave the item blank if not applicable or to mark "not applicable" as a response.

    2. Additional Considerations

      Colleges/schools, departments, and/or individual faculty should add qualitative questions to enhance the utility of student feedback. In order for this SET instrument to be most helpful to professors' improvement efforts, qualitative feedback is necessary.

      Colleges/schools, departments, and/or individual faculty should add quantitative or qualitative items that allow them to better assess student learning in their classes.

      The Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument (SETCI) shall be subject to rigorous and ongoing evaluation. It is important to assess potential threats to validity, possible bias, and patterns over time.

  2. Policies on Administration of SETs

    1. Process of administering the SETs during the required end-of-semester evaluation:

      1. SIUE forms for Student Evaluation of Teaching include the approved campus-wide core. In addition, each department, school, or college can add a second section of multiple-choice questions and a section of open-ended questions.

      2. Student evaluations of teaching may be administered in paper-pencil format or online. Regardless of mode of delivery, the process must ensure anonymity for students.

      3. Before students take the evaluation, instructors should provide a standard statement in writing or verbally. This statement should instruct students about the importance and purpose of the evaluation as well as how the evaluations will be used.

      4. The administrator should instruct students not to talk to each other while filling out SETs.

      5. The process must assure student anonymity on the SETs.

      6. The instructor must not be present while evaluations are being filled out.

      7. The department should develop a plan regarding the administration of student evaluations of teaching. This plan should include designations for who will administer course evaluations. If a departmental designee is unavailable, the instructor can use a "signed envelope" procedure: in such an instance, the department chair or instructor must designate a student in the class to collect all evaluations in a single large envelope, seal it, sign it across the seal, and deliver it to the department secretary or other designated location.

      8. Instructors must not have contact with individual SETs once they have been distributed (in the case of non-electronic administration, someone else must collect and give the completed SETs to someone in charge of processing them). The instructor will not be allowed to see the original evaluation forms after they have been completed.

      9. Handwritten comments must be typed before the instructor receives them.

      10. If paper administration, SET forms (both completed and blank) must be returned in the SET packet and accounted for. For online administration, faculty members and departments should make note of response rates and their potential impact on the results. Regardless of mode of delivery, evaluations are anonymous, including whether or not a student has completed the evaluation.

      11. The final results are provided to the instructor after the final grade submission period is over.

    2. Further suggestions

      It is suggested that instructors administer an evaluation during the course of the semester in addition to the end-of-semester evaluation. (A midterm evaluation may help instructors to identify problems and remedy them while they still have the opportunity).

      In the case of the midterm evaluations, the evaluation practices should ensure anonymity. Departments should work to develop effective practices to support faculty members who wish to implement midterm evaluations for the purpose of course improvement.

  3. Policy on Use of Results of Student Evaluation of Teaching

    1. Preamble

      There is a wide body of research indicating that student evaluations of teaching (SETs) may be influenced by such factors as instructor gender, physical attractiveness, race, and other types of characteristics (see reference list below). Prior student interest in the subject matter is also a factor, giving instructors of certain courses an advantage over others. For example, some instructors have the responsibility of teaching relatively unpopular courses, which may put them at a disadvantage.

      Further, many faculty members have a responsibility to awaken students to discriminatory ideology and institutional practices that are hegemonic and oppressive to those not in the dominant group(s) in the world. Attempts to help students understand racism, sexism, and discrimination against those of non-dominant sexual orientation, ethnicity, or religious affiliation often leads to antipathy and confusion among students. These phenomena must be weighed when considering student evaluations of faculty teaching courses that expose racism, sexism, and homophobia. Although this issue may be more relevant to some disciplines than others, it can be a factor in all disciplines and in any course.

    2. Policy on use of student evaluations of teaching

      1. SETs shall not be used as the sole or primary indicator of faculty effectiveness - neither as individuals, nor collectively. Rather, multiple measures shall be used to evaluate faculty teaching. Such measures may include peer evaluations, formative assessments, and content-based evaluations.

      2. The response to a single question on a SET shall never be used as the sole or primary indicator of faculty effectiveness taken from that instrument, even when that instrument is used in conjunction with other measures. This applies both to individual faculty members and to collections of faculty members. Also, with quantitative SETs, student response percentages for each answer category are more useful than the arithmetic mean for each item.

      3. Results of SETs shall not be used to compare faculty members or collections of faculty members for evaluation purposes. Rather, they shall be used in at least one of the following ways:

        • to document faculty improvement or changes in a faculty member's results in the same class over time

        • along with other indicators of teaching quality, to determine the quality of faculty teaching

        • to assess the extent to which faculty use evaluation results to improve their teaching

      4. The Chair and/or other review committee should meet with faculty to interpret and discuss the results of student evaluation of teaching.

      5. Because student evaluations of teaching are anonymous, no disciplinary action may be based solely on student evaluations of teaching.


  4. SET Continuous Review Committee

    The SET Continuous Review committee, a subcommittee of the Committee on Assessment, meets every three years and functions to oversee continuous review and validation of the SIUE Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument (SETCI). The Committee shall be constituted of a minimum of four faculty members, including the Director of Assessment (as a voting member) and an additional liaison from the Committee on Assessment. Faculty members will be chosen based on their expertise in psychometric measurement, survey design, and statistics. Appointments are made jointly by the Director of Assessment and the Committee on Assessment and approved through Faculty Senate. Appointments to the Committee shall normally be for a three-year term; reappointment is permitted. All members of the Committee will be voting members. The Committee shall be responsible for the continuous review and validation of the SIUE Student Evaluation of Teaching Core Instrument (SETCI), and making recommendations to the Committee on Assessment and Faculty Senate on the basis of the data collected.

  5. References for SET Policies

    Basow, S. (1994). Student ratings of professors are not gender blind. Retrieved September 28, 2004, from the World Wide Web: http://www.awmmath.org/newsletter/199409/basow.html

    Bennett, S. K. (1982). Student perceptions of and expectations for male and female instructors: Evidence relating to the question of gender bias in teaching evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(2), 170-179.

    Freeman, H. R. (1994). Student evaluations of college instructors: Effects of type of course taught, gender and gender role, and student gender. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86(4), 627-630.

    Greenwald, Anthony G. and Gerald M. Gillmore. (1997). "Grading Leniency Is a Removable Contaminant of Student Ratings," American Psychology 11: 1209-17.

    Hendrix, K. T. (1993). Guess who's coming to lecture? Two case studies in professor credibility. Washington, DC: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western States Communication Association.

    Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A. (2000). Effects of grading leniency and low workload on students' evaluations of teaching: Popular myth, bias, validity, or innocent bystanders? Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), 202-228.

    Naftulin, Donald H., John E. Ware, and Frank A. Donnelly, (1973). "The Doctor Fox Lecture: A Paradigm of Educational Seduction," Journal of Medical Education 48: 630-5.

    Nast, H. J. (1999). 'Sex', 'race' and multiculturalism: Critical consumption and the politics of course evaluations. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 23(1), 102-115.

    O'Reilly, M. T. (1987). Relationship of physical attractiveness to students' ratings of teaching effectiveness. Journal of Dental Medicine, 51(10), 600-602.

    SIUE Department of Historical Studies (2004). Operating Papers, Appendix I.

    Sproule, R. (2000). "Student Evaluation of Teaching: A Methodological Critique of Conventional Practices", Education Policy Analysis Archives 8.50 (2000).

    Williams, W. M. and S. J. Ceci. (1997). '"How'm I Doing?' Problems with Student Ratings of Instructors and Courses", Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning 29: 12-23.

Approved by Chancellor effective 5/3/13
This policy was issued on May 24, 2013, replacing the March 12, 2007 version.
Document Reference: 1J7
Origin: WC 6-06/07; CC 9-10/11, CC 10-11/12 & OC 5/3/13

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