FIU: Analysis and Information Management
 
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Interpreting the Information

WHAT IS THIS REPORT? This report contains results of student assessments of instructors at Florida International University for the various semesters. This information provides you with one source of information for selecting courses. Also helpful in your decision-making would be a meeting with your academic adviser, examining course syllabi, and talking with instructors.

WHICH COURSES WERE EVALUATED? This report includes all courses taught during the specific semester. Certain courses were excluded based upon their nontraditional structures and limited enrollments. Please note that if an instructor taught more than one section of the same course, results need be reported for only one of those sections.

HOW ARE THE TABLES INTERPRETED? Tables in this report contains the following course information: Department, Course Title and Number, Section Number, Instructor Name, Semester and Year, and Course Enrollment. In addition, they summarize students' responses to the eight items for which results are provided.

For each course listed, the percent of student reporting Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, or Poor are shown for each item, as well as the percent not responding to each item. The numbers appearing below each option show the percentage of students selecting each options, NOT the number of students.

HOW CAN THIS DATA BE USED? Students should be careful and thoughtful when interpreting these data. First, enough students must respond to provide an adequate, representation of all students enrolled in a class for data to be meaningful. Further, these data may reveal as much about the diversity of learning style preferences found in university classrooms as they reveal about the diversity of student reactions to instructors' different teaching styles.

Though students are good sources of some type of information about instructors, research has also shown that students' assessments of instructors can be influenced by a number of factors outside of an instructor's immediate control. These factors can include class size (small classes tend to be rated higher than large classes), course level (upper-level courses may be rated higher than lower level courses), discipline (courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences tend to receive higher ratings than courses in Engineering, Math, and the Sciences), instructor rank (faculty tend to receive higher ratings than graduate teaching assistants), and students' reasons for enrolling in the course (electives courses tend to receive higher ratings than required courses). Readers should consider such influences on published data when reviewing these tables.

Most importantly, readers should remember that simplistic numerical comparisons between courses or instructors are not recommended. For example, in a class having 20 respondents, each student's opinion will have a weight of 5%; in a class with 200 respondents, however, each student's opinion will have a weight of only one weight of only one-half of 1%. Similarly, one instructor may be rated Excellent by 74% of his or her students and a second instructor may be rated Excellent by 68%; this difference may not have statistical significance or practical importance when selecting courses. In short, these student assessments are not validated measures of teacher effectiveness; comparisons and conclusions about the relative skill of different instructors should never be based solely on this limited information.

   Analysis and Information Management
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