Student Evaluation of Instruction

Bill 12-A-34- Revising "Student Evaluation of Instruction" to establish a Procedures Section (Approved)



Approved by the Faculty Senate
November 14, 2012

BRIEF SUMMARY: This bill specifies the procedures portion of the existing Faculty Handbook section on Student Evaluation of Instruction (Chapter 3, Section C10). Changes include (i) clarification that faculty may voluntarily choose to report numerical results but are encouraged to develop a response that incorporates students' written comments, and (ii) directs the department chair to forward results to the dean of the college when a nationally-normed summary measure of teaching effectiveness falls below the 20th percentile.


WHEREAS: The Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Committee has included representatives of the Student Government Association in its discussion of procedures pertaining to student evaluation of instruction and specifically incorporated the use of students' written comments.

WHEREAS: The Student Government Association expressed support of the policy and procedures at its meeting on February 13, 2012.

WHEREAS: The academic deans have requested access to the results of student evaluation of instruction to encourage improvement in teaching effectiveness, and not for any other personnel decisions.

WHEREAS: 14 of Southeast Missouri State University's 15 peer institutions provide its deans with access to the results of student evaluations of instruction.

WHEREAS: Faculty Senate supports quality teaching at Southeast Missouri State University.

BE IT RESOLVED THAT: subject to the passage and approval of both this bill and its companion bill establishing a corresponding "policy" section, Chapter 3, Section C10 of the Faculty Handbook be amended by replacing the existing content (Faculty Senate Bill 99-A-03) with the following "procedures" section (to follow the companion "policy" in the Handbook):

Student Evaluation of Instruction Procedures

The course/instructor evaluation instrument(s) used within a department during the semesters when a nationally-normed, university-wide evaluation instrument is not utilized must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the faculty of that department. The instrument(s) should recognize the diversity of subject matter, instructional styles, and student groups across and within disciplines. Faculty may add additional questions to the instrument(s) to ensure that all appropriate data needed for instructional improvement are provided.

The student evaluation is to be administered by the departmental chair or designate. Appropriate procedures will be developed by the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning and/or department chairs to require timely administration and processing of the evaluations and to ensure the integrity of the entire student evaluation process. Instructions for completing the instrument and adequate time for the completion in class will be provided. Students will be informed (a) that the data and written comments on the evaluation form are confidential, (b) that the data will be an important part of the information considered in improving instruction at Southeast Missouri State, and (c) that the instructor will not have access to the data until final grades have been processed. The faculty member will not be present during the evaluation, and the results will not be available until after final grades have been processed.

The Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning will assist in the processing of the evaluations. The results will be returned to the faculty member, department chair, and others only as designated by the faculty member. Evaluations will also be forwarded by the department chair to the dean of the college for all courses in a semester when a summary measure of teaching effectiveness selected by Faculty Senate is below the nationally-normed 20th percentile for at least two courses in the same semester. The dean, in consultation with the department chair and faculty member, may then suggest further classroom evaluation by peers, attendance at instructional development activities provided by the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning, or attendance at other instructional development workshops or programs relevant to the appropriate discipline. It is expressly understood that the department chair and dean of the college will use the results only for encouraging teaching improvement, and not for any other personnel decisions. It is also understood that evaluations with response rates that are too low to be reliable will not be forwarded to the dean of the college. The Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning will receive a copy of the results from the nationally-normed instrument and may receive a copy of the department assessment if the faculty member so desires. The results of the evaluation of the department chair will be distributed to the dean and a faculty member designated by the department. Confidentiality among these individuals must be maintained. Any other use of the results requires the approval of the faculty member, except in cases where the aggregate data are used for specific institutional reporting purposes.

As part of its commitment to improving and assuring quality instruction, the University shall provide instructional professional development resources and assistance. The Director of the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning will be responsible for coordinating effective mentoring systems, seminars, workshops, instructional materials, and other professional development activities and for ensuring that faculty development is suggested and professional development resources provided to support improvement of instructional quality.

In summary, student evaluation of instruction may be viewed as part of a continuous, formative process of assessment used to measure the effectiveness of classroom instruction by faculty members. This process should culminate in an overall view of the instructional and content effectiveness of the courses being examined.

Student Evaluation for Comparing and Contrasting Southeast with Other Universities

A nationally-normed student rating form will be selected by a method recommended by the Faculty Senate and will be designated for this institution-wide purpose. This student rating form will be administered campus-wide, every spring semester, in every section of every class taught, except where the use of the instrument is deemed invalid by the developer or where an integrated set of courses may best be evaluated by a single administration of the evaluation instrument. The costs of administration of this form shall be borne by the Office of the Provost. The data collected from this administration will be used to compare and contrast Southeast to other universities. The nationally-normed instrument will be administered campus-wide during specified semesters as described above. Separate departmental evaluation instruments, if approved by the department as previously described, may be administered during these same semesters if so desired by the department and/or the individual faculty member.

Appropriate Use of Student Evaluation of Instruction Information in Personnel Decisions

Faculty members may voluntarily choose to report numerical results from the nationally-normed instrument and/or the specific department assessment form(s) for evidence of teaching effectiveness in personnel decisions (such as promotion, tenure, merit pay, termination, etc.). Faculty members may not be compelled to submit student evaluation results for these purposes (see "Prohibited Use" below). Instead, however, faculty members should describe their responses to the numerical results and/or students' written comments. They may describe the content or teaching techniques that contribute to their success or describe changes in content or teaching techniques they have made or will make, or innovations they have made or planned that might enhance teaching effectiveness. They may describe how more recent results reflect a previous change in teaching activities. They can reflect on what the results reveal or confirm. They may explain the assistance they sought from their colleagues, the Center for Scholarship in Teaching and Learning, and/or professional organizations. The narrative thus developed would be reflective and explain how faculty members used the results of student evaluation of instruction to improve teaching. Narratives would be included in the faculty member's record of service as evidence of the implementation and response to student evaluation of instruction. Developing a response to student evaluations rather than merely reporting the summary numbers is more consistent with the formative intent of student evaluations at the individual faculty member level. It would allow faculty to avoid focusing on maximizing numbers, but rather concentrate on explaining their response to the numbers and students' written comments.

When developing recommendations or making decisions on faculty teaching effectiveness, committees and individuals must take into account other activities presented by the faculty member consistent with accomplishment in teaching effectiveness, including but not limited to:

  • peer evaluations
  • portfolios
  • course improvement activities
  • curriculum improvement activities
  • team teaching activities
  • faculty self-evaluation statements concerning philosophy and teaching techniques
  • pre-test/post-test measures designed to assess gains in student knowledge
  • other "value added" outcomes measures
  • documented informal or formal mid-semester student evaluations of instruction accompanied by reflections thereon
  • other measures of effectiveness prescribed by departmentally-approved criteria

Faculty members may voluntarily choose to report the numerical summary results of student evaluation of instruction with or without a narrative such as that described above. It is, however, improper for individuals or committees to draw inferences about the presence or absence of such data, as explained below. Such individuals or committees should also be aware that, because of the necessity of a transition period to this policy from the preceding one, faculty members could be submitting mixed evidence of teaching effectiveness for a period of several years. This is acceptable, and no adverse inferences may be drawn in such cases.

Prohibited Use of Student Evaluation of Instruction Information in Personnel Decisions

Because standardized rating instruments and department assessments may not adequately capture the nuances and variations across disciplines or between types of courses within a discipline, the use of the results from these evaluations may not be compelled in any kind of personnel decision (such as promotion, tenure, merit pay, termination, etc.) and may only be used if the individual faculty member wishes them to be so used. Individuals and bodies involved in such personnel decisions are expressly directed not to draw any inferences whatsoever about the absence of these results from any faculty member's dossier. Demonstrating teaching effectiveness, however, is the responsibility of faculty members and may be achieved in a variety of ways, such as those listed in the preceding section. It is important to reiterate that student evaluation of instruction is just a part of the total assessment of the teaching effectiveness. Ratings and written comments from students should be viewed as ongoing components of the overall process of professional growth and teaching improvement. Relying solely on student evaluations to assess the effectiveness of teaching and learning is inappropriate.


Action Date
Introduced to Senate 9/19/2012
Second Senate Meeting 10/31/2012
Faculty Senate Vote 11/14/2012
President's Review 12/7/2012
15 Day Review 1/2013
Posted to Faculty Handbook 2/19/2013