Services

Benefits

Benefits of the IDEA Student Ratings System:

  • IDEA Center Experience and Expertise
  • The Student Learning Model
  • Faculty Input
  • Diagnostics and Improvement
  • Documented Validity and Reliability
  • National Comparative Data
  • Accounting for Extraneous Influences
  • Group Summary Reports

IDEA Center Experience and Expertise

The IDEA Center has been serving institutions of higher education since 1975 and is a national leader in faculty evaluation and development. Our core mission of helping institutions assess and improve teaching and learning has led us to develop a valid and reliable instrument, based on in-depth research on best practices. Our experienced and dedicated staff members are available to help you effectively develop and implement faculty evaluation systems using the IDEA Student Rating System.

The Student Learning Model

While the IDEA forms and reports have been periodically updated, the Student Learning Model that serves as the foundation of the system has stood the test of time. The model is based on the idea that specific teaching methods influence certain types of student learning under certain circumstances. As such, any adequate instrument must take into account this unique interplay among divergent methods and objectives and shifting circumstances. To accomplish this, the Student Rating system’s Diagnostic Form includes 20 teaching methods and 12 learning objectives, and it adjusts scores for five circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. (See Research Report 6 and Technical Report 12 for more information.) While the Short Form does not address the “method” component of the model, the 12 learning objectives are included, and scores are adjusted for three extraneous factors.

Faculty Input

Faculty members complete a Faculty Information Form for each course being surveyed. This allows them to tailor results for each course by identifying which of the 12 learning objectives are relevant to their courses.

Diagnostics and Improvement

The Student Ratings of Instruction system is focused on providing information to guide improvement efforts, which is a key element of the Diagnostic Form Report.

Documented Validity and Reliability

No other nationally available student ratings instrument provides more evidence of validity and reliability. Our research efforts are continually aimed at providing quality instruments, along with the guidance and support to use them wisely for improving instruction and making administrative decisions. Our series of Technical Reports, Research Reports, and Research Notes keep campuses well informed of our latest research findings.

National Comparative Data

With nearly three million forms processed annually — in 200,000 classes at 340 colleges and universities — IDEA has a solid basis for providing comparison information for individual instructors, departments, and institutions.

Accounting for Extraneous Influences

A number of factors beyond the instructor's control have been found to influence student ratings. Adjusted scores provide a mechanism to "level the playing field" and to make the use of student ratings in administrative decisions more fair. We constantly focus our research efforts on refining the process for adjusting scores. (See Research Report 6 and Technical Report 12 for more information.)

At this time, the Diagnostic Form adjusts for five factors:

  • Student motivation to take the class, regardless of who taught it
  • Student work habits
  • Class size
  • Student effort not attributable to the instructor
  • Course difficulty not attributable to the instructor

The Short Form adjusts for three factors:

  • Student motivation to take the class, regardless of who taught it
  • Student work habits
  • Class size

Group Summary Reports

Group Summary Reports combine information across a number of courses. The aggregated data are useful for identifying local norms and faculty development needs. In addition, because the Student Ratings of Instruction system is learning-centered, the data can be useful in program assessment and accreditation.