The IDEA Instruments are designed to provide feedback you can use—formative feedback that gives you suggestions for improvement—as well as summative feedback that can be used as a component of a more comprehensive system of faculty evaluation. 

The following tools are available for use:

  • Diagnostic Feedback - A comprehensive tool that provides both summative and formative feedback about student progress on relevant course objectives, instructor teaching methods, and overall impressions of the instructor and course. 40 questions.
  • Learning Essentials - Provides summative feedback about average student progress on relevant learning objectives and overall impressions of the instructor and course. 18 questions.
  • Teaching Essentials - Provides formative feedback about teaching methods highly correlated with instructor and course excellence. 12 questions.
  • Feedback A tool that was created to allow Instructors to receive formative feedback from students throughout the semester. 6 questions.

How do faculty choose which instrument to use?

Some institutions allow faculty to choose the instrument they wish to use for particular courses while others may make this decision for them based on policies for departments or other units. If you are allowed to choose your own instrument, your institution should have a way for you to communicate that choice because faculty cannot make the technical selection of an instrument--only the administrator can do this when setting up administrations. Contact your on-campus coordinator to find out how to make your choice.

See also this advice for selecting an instrument: Choosing an Instrument.

What the ratings will tell you

IDEA’s Instruments provide feedback you can use to improve instruction with the focus of the instrument on student learning. The student ratings provide evidence of progress on learning objectives and teaching methods used in a course.

One of the most important of the pieces of evidence is student ratings of how well they achieved learning objectives in your course. Students are asked to rate their achievement of learning objectives in both the comprehensive Diagnostic Feedback instrument and Learning Essentials instrument. In your report, you will be able to see their rating and how you compare to other groups.

About adjusted scores

One of the unique things about the instruments is that they control for course difficulty beyond the influence of the instructor. In the Diagnostic Feedback instrument, the system adjusts your Progress on Relevant Objectives scores, as well as your “excellent teacher” and “excellent course” ratings, through regression equations, to account for the influence of student background preparation, work habits, motivation, course difficulty, and class size. In Teaching Essentials, average ratings on both the “excellent teacher” and “excellent course” items are adjusted for student work habits, motivation, background, as well as class size.

These adjusted scores may raise your scores some to account for these influences. For instance, in a course where a large number of students report low motivation for the course, your scores are adjusted upward to account for the low motivation. The purpose of adjusting scores is to level the playing field when comparisons need to be made between instructors teaching different kinds of classes. So, for instance, scores of instructors teaching large, required general education classes can be compared more authentically to those teaching smaller, high level, in-major courses.  

 Adjusted Scores at a Glance

The default view you are shown in your reports is this adjusted score, but you can chose to view your Raw Averages if you wish by simply toggling the View option.

What students see and how they access the survey

Students access the survey for all their courses from one place—the Campus Labs portal for your campus. To learn more, access The Student Experience article. 

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