IDEA Student Ratings

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For Faculty

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.

New for Spring 2015:   All IDEA course evaluations will be conducted online.  Faculty members will receive a unique course url for each course that is eligible for IDEA evaluation.  This link must be distributed to the students in order for them to access the survey - see the related "Best Practices" document for more information.
Using the self-serve preferences application on my.Fairfield, faculty members can continue to select:
·         Long or short form (see the Rationale for Short Form option and sample forms)
·         Opt-in/Opt-Out:  distribution of results from 5 FUSA question to FUSA
An e-mail alert will be sent each semester to remind faculty when to log in to make their selections – see Instructions for IDEA registration for more information.

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 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:

Interpreting The Data & Closing The Loop

Interpreting Reports

Using IDEA to improve teaching

Should you have any questions, please contact Kim Baer at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2292,

The Center for Academic Excellence is available to facilitate IDEA workshops and for one-on-one consultations. Please contact the CAE at or ext. 2876.

IDEA Communication To Students

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 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 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.

* Sample Student Survey Form

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!

Should you have any questions, please contact Kim Baer at (203) 254-4000 ext. 2292,

Student Ratings Form (PDF)

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