The IDEA Blog



Read the thoughts and impressions on a variety of topics written by IDEA staff as well as occasional guest bloggers.

Making choices: Determining which student ratings instrument to use for a particular course
September 15, 2015
By Pat Sullivan  road-signIt is always nice to have options, but sometimes options breed confusion or fear of making the wrong choice or just plain inaction… I simply do not have time or inclination to make another decision today. The purpose of this blog is to eliminate all of the barriers above by explaining (succinctly) the various instruments IDEA offers as part of the Student Ratings of Instruction System and how to effectively select the one that best meets course and faculty assessment needs. Choosing the shortest form simply because it is short is probably not the best method of selection, and I imagine there are a few of you who may have succumbed to this thinking. It’s all right; I admit that I may have done that in my early years as a faculty member, too. But we now have three instruments that are relatively short, so choosing the instrument based on length no longer works, and it most certainly was never the best process to begin with. Why not take a moment (really, it will take just a moment!) to review the instruments now and make the best selection. The table below provides an at-a-glance view of the SRI instrument descriptions and applications. See the SRI instrument selection guide for more detailed information. It is well worth the time click on the guide and save, print or distribute to your campus. Matching the instrument with the intent of the course or faculty assessment plan will help you maximize the benefits of IDEA. Once it is decided which instrument is most appropriate for a particular course, you will need to work with your IDEA coordinators to make the selection within the system. It is just that simple!  
SRI Instruments Description Application
Diagnostic Feedback Provides comprehensive summative and formative feedback about average student progress on relevant course objectives, instructor teaching methods, and overall impressions of the instructor and course End-of-term assessment; appropriate for those who wish to assess overall teaching effectiveness as well as obtain feedback about how to improve teaching
Learning Essentials Provides summative feedback about average student progress on relevant learning objectives and overall impressions of the instructor and course. No diagnostic (formative) feedback is provided. End-of-term assessment; appropriate for faculty exclusively interested in assessment of learning outcomes (e.g., individualized learning, practicums, labs, performance, etc.)
Teaching Essentials Provides formative feedback about teaching methods highly correlated with instructor and course excellence. End of term; those who wish to obtain feedback about how to improve teaching, but not necessarily about student progress on relevant course objectives should select TE. Appropriate uses may include courses taught by adjunct faculty, interim review of tenured or experienced faculty with a strong history of teaching excellence.
Feedback Using teaching method items from Teaching Essentials, Feedback gathers immediate student responses after each class or unit, weekly, or selectively as desired, so faculty can see the impact of changes they have made in their class. Instant feedback throughout term; Feedback is used at the discretion of the individual faculty member and is useful to track and monitor instant student feedback, particularly when changes are made to content or teaching methods The Feedback Report is sent directly and solely to the faculty so it can be used for immediate development, changes, course adjustments, and longitudinal tracking throughout the course.
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