Why It's Important

No one spends more time with a teacher and participating in a course than its students, making systematically collected student feedback a unique and powerful source of information about how students feel about their learning experiences and the quality of UA instruction.

Beyond Arizona Board of Regents requirements and college or departmental requirements that student evaluations of instruction be collected as evidence of teaching effectiveness, student feedback can offer usable knowledge to deans, department heads, faculty, instructional developers, teaching assistants and students.   More than five decades of research consistently demonstrate that, given well-constructed questions, students can provide valid, reliable, and useful data concerning their experiences as learners.  The same research shows how student ratings of instruction, such as UA's TCEs, can be used to improve teaching and learning and as evidence of teaching effectiveness for faculty performance appraisal.

The OIA TCE team aims to provide the UA community with resources to help make student ratings data a source of valuable (and valued) information about the quality of UA instruction.  We accomplish this by:

  • asking students the right questions for a given evaluative purpose - e.g. improving teaching versus performance appraisal
  • getting responses from a representative sample of students within each course
  • using appropriate analysis and interpretation methods for non-randomly sampled survey data
  • taking into account both the strengths and limitations of student ratings as shown by replicated research findings and evidence-based best practices for faculty and course evaluation
  • using best practices for faculty evaluation that ensure that TCE data are used in conjunction with other appropriate sources of data consistent with the multifaceted, multidimensional nature of teaching and learning  (e.g. peer observation, focus groups, reviews of course materials, and input from instructional specialists, etc.)