IDEA Student Ratings
The IDEA student rating system is the standard courses evaluation method across the university as of Fall, 2010 and provides both summative evaluation (used for personnel decisions) and formative feedback (for course improvement.) IDEA results provide faculty with a wealth of data that can help improve their teaching and increase student learning. Faculty members are urged to take the time in class to tell students that the forms are important for professional development and that the data are used for promotion decisions and salary increases.
Course evaluations will be conducted on paper, unless the professor selects the online option. Faculty will receive an e-mail alert early each semester, to advise them when to log in to make this selection. IDEA online registration.
The IDEA form depends upon each faculty member filling out a Faculty-Information-Form (FIF) for each class. Instructions for how to complete the FIF, including selecting COURSE OBJECTIVES, are included below under Administering IDEA.
Getting Started with IDEA
Administering IDEA - Visit www.theideacenter.org/support/student-ratings/faculty-resources for Faculty Resources including:
- A video on completing the FIF
- Directions to Faculty
- Thoughts on selecting IDEA objectives
- Disciplinary selection of learning objectives
- Disciplines with Norms
- Sample Syllabi Integration of IDEA Objectives
In addition to the IDEA website referenced above, here are some helpful resources:
- Directions to Faculty (PDF)
- Understanding the FIF (PDF)
- Best Practices for Online Response Rates (PDF)
- Tips for Facilitating Quality Feedback and Response Rates for Online and Paper (PDF)
- Understanding the Student Ratings Diagnostic Form (PDF)
- Additional Discipline Codes (IDEA Department/Discipline Code Mapping PDF, revised April 2012)
- Additional Questions that are included on all surveys - Fairfield University Student Association (FUSA) Questions (PDF revised April 2012)
- Adding unique questions specific to your course - No single survey form can anticipate the needs of all instructors or learning environments. The IDEA system offers the instructor the option of asking 20 additional questions. View instructions for adding questions to paper or online surveys.
Interpreting the Data & Closing the Loop
- Sample Diagnostic Report Form (PDF)
- Sample Diagnostic Report Connections (PDF)
- Understanding and interpreting adjusted scores (PDF)
- Interpretative Guide: IDEA Diagnostic Form Report (PDF)
- Interpreting the Diagnostic Report - a guide by Dr. Bill Abbott for Fairfield University (PDF)
- POD-IDEA Center Notes on Instruction: 20 Teaching Methods rated by students
- POD-IDEA Center Notes on Learning: 12 Objectives Tips and strategies to facilitate student learning on each of the twelve IDEA objectives
- Relationship of the 20 Teaching Methods to the 12 Learning Objectives (PDF)
- Documenting teaching over time using IDEA data: IDEA Excel worksheet to guide faculty reflection developed by Pamela Milloy (Grand View University). Faculty have found this tool useful, especially for those who teach courses with 10 or less students, it allows them to track their data over time and reflect on their teaching.
The Center for Academic Excellence is available to facilitate IDEA workshops and for one-on-one consultations. Please contact the CAE at firstname.lastname@example.org or ext. 2876.
Dear Fairfield Students,
It is particularly important that students take this seriously and complete the forms thoughtfully (whether paper or online). With your help, we hope to receive high response rates that will provide us with reliable and representative data, which is essential for teaching improvements and administrative decisions.
Help us spread the word! And make sure every Fairfield student's voice is heard!
In an effort to be transparent, please find below information about the IDEA Student Ratings System, and the process at Fairfield.
Background: IDEA at Fairfield
Beginning in Fall 2010, Fairfield University invested in the IDEA Student Ratings System, an instrument that reflects our institutional commitment to quality feedback and ongoing improvement of courses. Fairfield students are instrumental in this process and we cannot stress enough the importance of input from every Fairfield student. To learn more about the IDEA Student Ratings System, please visit the IDEA website.
Why is the IDEA Student Rating System important at Fairfield?
Fairfield University is committed to excellence in teaching and student learning. Instructors are interested in improving their teaching and the IDEA student evaluation system is designed to give instructors valuable feedback on how students are learning in the classroom.
Why should students fill out the IDEA form?
Students can make a difference in helping to improve teaching at Fairfield University by giving honest and accurate feedback on the IDEA evaluation form. The IDEA system works well only if students take the time to report honestly and accurately about how much progress they made on their learning in a course. By completing the form, students are making their voices heard, and improving learning for future students. Whether filling out the paper or online forms, data from FUSA questions (questions 48-52) will be shared by FUSA should an instructor choose to disclose this information. Fairfield students are expected to complete the anonymous IDEA survey (whether paper or online) for each of their courses. Providing honest feedback is a responsibility of every member of the Fairfield community.
Student confidentiality is assured!
Student responses are confidential. Responses submitted on the paper form or online form are completely anonymous. When online responses are downloaded for processing, no identifying information is associated with the responses.
What is the IDEA Student Rating System all about?
The IDEA system is not assessing how much students "like" or "dislike" instructors or their courses. Students should carefully read and discriminate between the items on the IDEA form*. The form asks students to indicate their progress on relevant course objectives. Student feedback is aggregated and faculty receive a Diagnostic Form Report (samples available online at the IDEA website), which includes a wealth of information, and provides instructors with feedback on ways to improve instruction.
How will student input / IDEA results be used?
IDEA focuses on what the instructor was trying to teach and on what students learned. Student raters should also know that the results of their ratings for each class will be used by instructors to reflect on their teaching and will be included as part of the information used to make administrative decisions. Fairness to both the instructor and the institution require accurate and honest answers.
Student input matters! Your input matters! Help us capture every student's voice!
Student Ratings Form (PDF)
Mirror Articles about IDEA
- Professor William Abbott, "Open Letter to Fairfield Students," in The Mirror, April 19, 2011, page 6
- Casey Donahue, "Fairfield Implementing New Professor Evaluation Forms"