Senior Education Officer
June 18, 2012
By Shelley Chapman
Besides IDEA, most student ratings of instruction surveys (often called “course evaluations”), if not all, are designed as a single form process requiring only students to respond. This format is typically used because the goal is to collect student feedback on an instructor’s teaching methods and behaviors. The results of these types of instruments are then usually compared to a model of what a teacher should be doing in order to judge teaching effectiveness.
The philosophy behind the IDEA system is different. The IDEA survey’s chief indicator of teaching effectiveness is how well students rate their progress on the types of learning that faculty target. Since every course is different, faculty are requested to indicate targeted learning goals for each course on a separate form, called the Faculty Information Form, or FIF.
The FIF is a very important component to the IDEA student ratings system. Essentially, it gives faculty a voice in the rating process. It empowers the faculty member to be an active participant in the reflective process--reflecting upon what goals should be emphasized and then, when the results are returned, how well students rated their progress on those particular goals.
The Diagnostic Form Report also provides suggested action steps for improvement efforts. Based on a correlation study, The IDEA Center identified which particular methods are associated with student progress on each learning objective. Based on the results of this study, faculty are provided with specific suggestions to consider (page 3 of the Diagnostic Form Report) as they work toward helping students make better progress on their learning goals.
The IDEA Center is committed to student learning. As colleges and universities use IDEA, which highlights students’ ratings of their targeted learning goals, they are putting a focus on student learning.
In the next blog post in this series, I will talk about how to select “important” or “essential” objectives among the 12 general learning objectives on the FIF.