DATE: 24 September 2002
TO: Faculty Colleagues
FROM: Ron Yoshida
SUBJECT: Standard Teaching Evaluations
During the past few years, considerable discussion has
ensued over the content and format of the evaluation instrument given to
students for their evaluation of their instructors’ teaching. We must have
a standard evaluation form across the university; the question remains as to
its content and format. The objective of the form is two-fold—to serve as a
tool for faculty development and as a measure of faculty performance for
I have asked an ad hoc committee of colleagues,
nominated by their deans, to help me develop a standard teaching evaluation
process for the entire university. The committee consists of Paul Chou and
Bruce Moon, CAS; Richard Kish, CBE; Lana Edwards, COE; G. Slade Cargill,
RCEAS; and myself.
We convened at the end the Spring 2002 semester and
recently met for the first time this semester. Here are the tasks
accomplished and decisions that have been made as of today. The last
section of this memorandum outlines further steps to be completed during the
Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 semesters.
Please note that the survey instrument is but one
source of data concerning a colleague’s teaching performance. Others
include tabulation of instructional activities (course numbers and
enrollments, average and range of grades awarded, new courses prepared,
independent study/undergrad research directed, grad students supervised,
non-traditional instruction, etc.), selected teaching materials (syllabi,
exams or other evaluative exercises, out-of-class assignments, etc.), and
self evaluation. All of these
sources comprise a “portfolio” of teaching performance.
Our goal for the survey instrument specifically is to
have one with integrity and that is administered uniformly throughout the
During 2001-2002, I asked the colleges through their
deans to review the use of the current survey instrument that is given to
students to evaluate the instruction that they had received (to be referred
to henceforth as the blue form). The blue form consists of 21 questions;
students are asked to rate performance on a 5 point Likert scale (strongly
agree, somewhat agree, no opinion, somewhat disagree, and strongly
disagree). We also found that some departments added questions to the blue
form beyond the common set of 21.
Three colleges (CBE, CEAS, and COE) currently
administer the blue form in all classes. These colleges have affirmed the
use of the blue form. At the moment, some departments in CAS do not
administer the blue form. CAS recommended a set of common questions
(beyond the two global questions
regarding (1) the quality of the course, and (2) the quality of instruction)
that address two general areas (teaching logistics and instructional
effectiveness). These latter areas may already be addressed by some of the
questions used in the blue form.
The handling of completed forms and the reporting of
the results is currently the responsibility of the Psychology Department.
The department reports the summary statistics of each course to the
professor and the set of evaluations of a department to the department
chair. The deans routinely review these results as does the provost at the
time of merit evaluation, tenure, and promotion.
We also found that the resulting statistics for courses
are not warehoused. Thus, my first step in determining the psychometric
properties of the blue form could not be performed.
The committee also raised some questions regarding
using “neutral” as a substitute for the current “no opinion” response, and
adding “not applicable” as a response. One member of the committee asked
that we consider a change to the qualifiers of the Likert scale.
Current Decisions Affecting Fall 2002
Considering the timing for preparing forms and
the software for the Fall 2002 evaluation, the current blue form will be
used for this semester. All departments must administer this form.
If departments wish to administer questions in addition to those contained
on the blue form, they may do so on a separate form. Departments may also
administer specially designed forms in addition to the blue form. Please
note that departments themselves will be responsible for tabulating or
compiling responses to any questions or forms other than the blue forms.
The blue forms must be administered in all cases.
The data from this administration will be warehoused.
I will ask Institutional Research along with support from the Psychology
Department to report data by individual, department, college, and the
university as a whole.
More importantly, Professor Gary Lutz of the COE has
agreed to work with the committee to design and conduct a study of the
items. Although we do not have specifics for the study, we intend to
investigate issues concerning size of class, type of class, and gender
of the instructor. The data for the Fall 2002 semester will form a
baseline by which we can analyze the instrument as well as group performance
over a period of time. Thus, it is imperative that colleagues in every
Future Decisions for Spring 2003 and
The committee will review suggestions for
revisions to items in the blue form. You may send your suggestions to Stacy
Stainbrook at (sks3). By January 2003, a revised form or the current blue
form will be used for the Spring 2003, Fall 2003, and Spring 2004
semesters. We will need a longer term set of data to study the integrity of
The committee will also review the use of the web in
collecting evaluation data. The web eliminates the need for the cumbersome
process of handling forms by professors and departments, of returning them
to the Psychology Department, and of sending out hard copies of results. We
will review the issues concerning web collection. We will explore the
administrative feasibility of using the web especially in terms of
maintaining the confidentiality of responses. I will make a determination
of whether to use the web for the Spring 2003 semester.