Overview: The official end-of-semester student evaluation of instruction is one of the most commonly used methods in higher education to evaluate teaching effectiveness. Here at MSU, the data collected from the Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS) are given a considerable weight as an indicator of teaching effectiveness, and often factored into personnel decisions (tenure, promotion) of faculty. However, misunderstandings about 1) the student ratings and 2) how to use the student ratings and feedback to improve teaching and course design are prevalent among faculty. Based on the existing literature, we developed a manual for understanding and using the SIRS evaluation to address these concerns. Further, we also developed an Excel template/tool for faculty to generate trends charts for the metrics of their interest.
Outcomes: The manual helps faculty to:
- Understand why student evaluations of their instructors and courses are indeed valid and reliable evaluations rather than potentially biased opinions
- Develop strategies to better use and interpret student evaluation data to improve teaching effectiveness
Assessments are anxiety provoking, especially when the relationship to your work is not clear. Among faculty, student evaluations of their instructors and their courses are a source of pride and satisfaction – but oftentimes frustration and anxiety. Jun has looked into the research literature of the end-of-semester course evaluations and led a team to develop a manual to address the key concerns of these evaluations. The objectives are for faculty to:
- Understand why student evaluations of their instructors and courses are indeed valid and reliable evaluations rather than potentially biased opinions.
- Develop strategies to better use and interpret student evaluation data to improve teaching effectiveness.
Future plans: Initially developed for the Broad College of Business, we will continue to use this manual as a readily available resource to assist faculty across different colleges to use student ratings and feedback from the SIRS for supporting their teaching goals.
Publication: A Manual for Understanding and Using SIRS Evaluation
Author/Personnel: by Jun Fu; Jeremy Van Hof, Sarah Wellman