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Course Evaluation FAQs

Course evaluations are conducted using the electronic version of the Student Perception of Courses and Instructors (eSPCI) survey that has been in use since the spring 2013 term, or for those opting out of electronic evaluations, the paper-based SPCI. The SPCI was adopted by the FSU Faculty Senate in November 2012 and modified by the FSU Faculty Development and Advancement Office in conjunction with the Faculty Senate Course Evaluation Committee and the Office of Distance Learning in the fall of 2019. FSU administers the eSPCI survey via EvaluationKIT, a third-party course evaluation system. Integrated with Canvas, EvaluationKIT provides access to reports for instructors and administrators and ensures the anonymity of students responding in surveys.

How do my students access the eSPCI software?

Students receive email notifications and login prompts in Canvas (FSU's learning management system) when the evaluation window opens. If students don't complete a course survey, reminder emails will continue throughout the open window.

Are student evaluations anonymous?

Yes, student responses are anonymous. Instructors do not know which students responded or what responses individual students provided. However, instructors can track overall response rates for their courses.

How do I access evaluation reports?

Reports are posted on the EvaluationKIT website. Instructors receive notifications to view summary reports of course evaluation data when the survey window has closed. To access evaluation reports, follow the link provided in the email notification, use the EvaluationKIT module link in Canvas, or log in directly to the FSU EvaluationKIT site. See the FSU Canvas Support Center article How to View Survey Results for more information.

My course section has a low enrollment. Can I still be evaluated?

Yes. To help maintain the anonymity of students in small sections, reports for undergraduate sections of fewer than 10 students (5 for graduate sections) can be combined with other sections. The request can be entered any time after evaluations have been conducted. If you need help, your department’s course evaluation coordinator can submit this request.

How can I access public reports ?

An EvaluationKIT public portal is available to view course evaluations and summary reports of all SPCI evaluations starting from the fall 2013 term. Course evaluation reports administered prior to fall of 2013 are archived in a separate online portal. Evaluations pre-dating the online archive can be found in the paper archives at Strozier Library on the main campus.

What do I need to tell my students?

  • Student feedback matters. Let your students know that faculty use information from course evaluations to improve courses, programs, and teaching methods. Explain that course evaluations also help instructors determine whether course content is meeting the needs of their students. Let them know that department chairs and college deans use course evaluations to assess faculty and the effectiveness of the courses in the program curriculum.
  • Evaluations are anonymous. FSU has contracted with an outside vendor (EvaluationKIT) to manage and store the eSPCI evaluation data. FSU technology administrators do not have access to the student’s identifying data on any evaluation.
  • Complete your evaluations. Although it is not mandatory, urge students to complete their evaluations. Assure them you will listen and make necessary adjustments to the course and/or program. Students may view all course evaluations using the public site; this is often helpful when they are choosing courses to add to their schedule.

Can instructors make a difference in response rates?

Absolutely! The highly personal relationship between the instructor and the student plays the biggest role in a student deciding to take the evaluation survey. When evaluation is taken seriously by instructors and administrators, students feel their feedback matters and make an effort to respond. You will be able to monitor response rates during the open survey window. If you see they are low, let your students know how important it is to you that they take a moment to complete the course surveys.

Aren't online survey response rates lower than paper-based surveys?

Studies show that online response rates are similar to paper when a culture of participation has been cultivated and all evaluations are conducted in the same manner. To ensure a captive audience, instructors may decide to conduct the online evaluations in the classroom when the window is open—just as they would paper evaluations. Students can use their smart phones, laptops, tablets, or use a computer lab instead of pencil and paper to complete their evaluations.

Are online evaluations as accurate as paper evaluations?

Studies show that even with lower response rates, online and paper evaluations have statistically similar results. The larger the class, the fewer responses you need for a valid assessment.

Do online evaluations result in lower scores?

Studies show this is a myth. Lower-performing students do not respond more often to online surveys than paper ones; online evaluations do not skew results. In fact, there is slightly more evidence that higher-performing students are more apt to respond to online surveys. In addition, studies indicate that students who complete evaluations online are more likely to include substantive written feedback that directly relates to the scores they submit. Why? Typing is easier than writing? No fear of handwriting analysis? More time to create a thoughtful response? Whatever the reason, the research supports that students provide more thoughtful, open responses using online evaluations.

The references below are not endorsed by FSU but are included to provide general information on the topic:

References, Studies, Summaries & Additional Information (PDF)

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  • 09-Sep-2022