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Summative Uses of Student Ratings
(e.g., for personnel decisions)
1. Do not rely only on student ratings. Use other assessments too (e.g., results of 2 or more peer reviews, assessments of the products of student learning, or a review of a teaching portfolio that includes summaries of formative assessment and other expressions of the scholarship of teaching).
2. Use only a few of the items that research has shown to be the most reliable and valid indicators of the quality of teaching (e.g., ratings of the overall effectiveness of teaching, student self-ratings on the quality of their learning, and the rapport the instructor has with students).
3. Obtain ratings from different courses over several semesters taught by the same instructor. Note that statistics derived from small classes (less than 10), are less reliable. As well, low levels of student compliance (e.g., less than 60%) to take a
survey will yield less reliable results. Add the ratings from additional courses and semesters to reduce the unwanted effects of low reliability.
4. Do not be influenced by biasing variables or variables beyond the control of an instructor (e.g., subject difficulty, difficulty of an academic discipline, course elective status, lower or upper division course level and class size).
5. Make comparison judgments against discipline-specific apriori standards, not inter-faculty comparisons of means or medians. Use simple 3-levels of judgment (exceeds, meets, or not meets standards).
6. Train and retrain all people who give or use ratings (e.g., deans, chairs, and students).
7. Continuously evolve and refine the student rating tool and process.
8. Make an enduring serious commitment to faculty development.
Formative Uses of Student Ratings
(e.g., for professional development)
1. Provide the option for faculty to include additional teaching or learning performance items in the rating survey. Doing this is particularly important for faculty who are teaching in non-traditional settings, labs, or who are exploring new forms of pedagogy.
2. Welcome faculty to also administer the survey mid-semester. However, these data should only be seen by the faculty member, not his dean or chair.
3. Provide mentors or internal consultants to help faculty interpret and respond to student ratings.
4. Train faculty to do course embedded assessment of specific variables directly affecting student learning, especially new faculty or faculty launching new courses.
5. Using ratings, grades, survey results and other data, build a database on the variables faculty can’t directly control but may influence the quality of learning (e.g., class size, course difficulty, elective-required status, lower-upper division, faculty gender, student characteristics, rank or length of service).
6. View student ratings and other data as having formative consequences not just for faculty but also their departments and schools (e.g., to refine curricula, build better classrooms & labs, or improve faculty development).
Passed by the Faculty Senate and approved by the President, June 2014
MOTION (Imhoff, Foerst): That the Summative and Formative Uses of Student Ratings attachment shall be official evaluation guidelines. Motion passed 9: 1: 0.