Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs)
- Must I administer student evaluations in every section I teach at the Kelley School of Business?
- When should I conduct student evaluations in my class?
- Where do I get the student evaluation forms?
- When will the forms be available for pick-up?
- What is the procedure for conducting student evaluations at the Kelley School of Business?
- When will the data from my student evaluations be ready?
- Who will see the data from my student evaluations?
- How is the data from student evaluations processed and handled?
- How is the information from student evaluations used at the Kelley School of Business?
- What kind of help is available to me in reading, interpreting, and utilizing the information from student evaluations of teaching?
According to official Kelley School of Business policy, every class taught at the Kelley School of Business, including summer session classes, must be evaluated by the students: “Without exception, every class section is independently evaluated. Student evaluations are distributed and collected in class by a student who returns the forms to a central administrative office.”
DURING THE LAST TWO (2) WEEKS OF THE SEMESTER.
The vast majority of student evaluations are conducted during the 14th and 15th weeks of the semester (penultimate and final weeks of instruction). In some instances, however, administrative units (e.g. I-Core, MBA Program, or SAGP) ask instructors to conduct evaluations at a certain time in the semester to suit instructional particulars. If you teach I-Core, courses that span less than the full semester, or graduate students of any kind, you should check with your administrative unit about the timing of course evaluations.
For each section taught at the Kelley School of Business, course evaluations forms are assembled into packets by personnel in the Dean's Office and then picked up by designated departmental assistants. All faculty, regardless of the academic program in which they teach, should check in their respective home departments to pick up their evaluation packets.
PACKETS AVAILABLE DURING THE FIFTH (5TH) WEEK OF THE SEMESTER:
- All I-Core lecture and discussion sections
- All 7-week and 8-week classes taught during the first 1/2 of the semester
- Any and all other sections that must be evaluated before the 11th week of the semester
PACKETS AVAILABLE DURING THE TENTH (10th) WEEK OF THE SEMESTER:
- All remaining courses/sections (those not evaluated early)
5. What is the procedure for conducting student evaluations at the Kelley School of Business?
1. Pick up materials
Instructors should pick up all evaluation materials (i.e., evaluation forms assembled in packets, pencils, and instructions) from their home department within a day or two of when the evaluations will be completed. Instructors may pick up the evaluation forms, but only student administrators may return the forms. Once the evaluation forms are handed out, instructors must not handle the forms again until they have been scanned and processed, after final grades have been submitted.
2. Select one or two student administrators
Select one student for small and medium-sized classes, two students for large and jumbo classes. Students may administer the evaluations at the beginning of class or at the end. Either way, instructors must not be present while evaluations are being completed. If administered at the beginning of class, instructors should leave the room and wait until a student invites them back to class. If administered at the end of class, the instructor may leave for the day.
3. Student administrator(s) submit(s) forms
Student administrator(s) should drop the completed forms into one of the two official course evaluation drop boxes. One is located on the second floor on the Undergraduate side in the Hall of Honor; the other is located on the ground floor on the Graduate side in the student vending area.
6. When will the data from my student evaluations be ready?
ABOUT FOUR (4) WEEKS AFTER THE LAST DAY OF FINALS WEEK.
Once all evaluations have been completed and dropped in the official receptacles, they are picked up by personnel and returned to the Dean's Office for processing. On the last day of finals week, the packets are routed to the Bureau of Evaluative Studies and Testing (B.E.S.T.) where they are scanned. The resulting data are later sent back to the Research Systems Coordinator (Betty Watson), who processes the data into useable form (reports). This complex process usually takes about 4 weeks.
7. Who will see the data from my student evaluations?
YOU, THE DEANS, YOUR CHAIR, AND YOUR PROGRAM CHAIR.
Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of course evaluation data, access to them is extremely restricted at the Kelley School. The only people other than you who will see reports of your student evaluations are the deans, the chair of your academic department, and the chair of your administrative program (e.g. Undergraduate, MBA, GAP, ISGP, or Doctoral).
8.How is the data from student evaluations processed and handled?
SEE QUESTION SIX (6) ABOVE.
9. How is the information from student evaluations used at the Kelley School of Business?
DATA FROM STUDENT EVALUATIONS ARE USED BOTH FORMATIVELY AND SUMMATIVELY AT THE KELLEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS.
Although instruments such as the Kelley School student evaluation form were initially invented to give instructors formative (personal use intended for an instructor’s development or improvement) feedback about their teaching, the clean numerical format of the resulting data quickly added the function of summation to these data. In other words, the seemingly unambiguous and objective numerical data made it easy for administrative bodies to evaluate an instructor’s effectiveness in a quick and easy way by taking a look at that instructor’s SET scores.
Of course, this method of evaluating an instructor’s effectiveness raises several theoretical concerns which cannot be discussed here. Nevertheless, the summative (use of data to evaluate an instructor’s performance) function of SET data is here to stay.
At the Kelley School of Business, numerical data from SETs are used in part to help department and program chairs ensure that the School’s reputation of excellence in teaching is held at the highest level. Chairs review the data from those instructors in their charge to get a pulse of the teaching effectiveness in their area, and most of the time, SET data are not used beyond this purpose. On rare occasion, however, when an administrator detects a set of data which fall seriously below the School’s mean, the instructor may be asked to seek remediation or to take other steps to improve his or her SET scores.
For lecturers, clinical professors, and other non- or not-yet-tenured instructors, SET data are used as part of the information administrators use to make decisions of tenure, promotion, and retention. Of course, many other factors play a role in the decision as well, and instructors are encouraged to check with their department chairs to learn exactly what role SET data play in such personnel decisions.
In addition to these administrative uses, SET data are also used by the Teaching Excellence Committee as part of the criteria used to select the various teaching awards granted at the Kelley School of Business. For more information about teaching awards at the Kelley School and the method by which they are selected, please click on teaching awards in the Faculty Corner section.
10. What kind of help is available to me in reading, interpreting, and utilizing the information from student evaluations of teaching?
THE KELLEY SCHOOL EMPLOYS AN INSTRUCTIONAL CONSULTANT WITH EXPERTISE IN THE INTERPRETATION OF STUDENT EVALUATIONS.
Though SET data is and will likely continue to be used for summative purposes, the data’s formative function should not be overlooked. Extensive research has shown that students are, in fact, well suited to give instructors valid and reliable feedback on aspects of their teaching that students are fit to judge. Hence, for categories such as instructor enthusiasm, organization of material, and clarity of assignments, students can be of great help to any instructor, from seasoned tenured instructor to first-year rookie.
Understanding just what the data mean, however, is a different story. The qualitative data offered by students in the form of written responses to open-ended questions must be interpreted and focused into emergent themes in order for a faculty member to use the information productively. The quantitative data, likewise, must be compared to the means for the entire Kelley School with the help of statistical ranges before they take on any useful meaning.
Although it is certainly possible to interpret one’s SET data alone, the personal involvement each instructor experiences vis-à-vis his or her own teaching usually complicates and obscures such solo interpretations. With the help of a third party, SET data can be interpreted so that instructors may make focused improvements to their instruction in the most productive way possible. Hence, it is highly recommended that instructors who wish to get the most out of the feedback offered by their students arrange an appointment with an instructional consultant to interpret the SET data. Once the data has been carefully studied, the consultant will then meet with the faculty member in a private setting to explain the results and, if desired, suggest strategies for improvement in desired areas. For more information, please click on Interpretation of Student Evaluations of Teaching.