Valencia Launches New Student Assessment of Instruction Tool

This summer, the college migrated from a paper version of our student assessment of instruction (SAI) tool (called Class Climate), to a new, online assessment system called CoursEval. The switch was made in response to problems experienced by faculty, including limitations of the reporting options and the lack of technical support.

Now, each student will see a customized display on their computer, mobile phone, or iPad, and faculty can use their logins to check response rates while the survey is in progress.  Once a survey is closed, there are reporting tools that enable faculty to see their own course averages compared to the overall averages for the course.

Survey invitations will be sent to students each semester, as opposed to only the spring and fall, and reminders will be sent to students every five days. In the past, students were not surveyed during the summer because of the cost of printing paper surveys.

“We have set the automatic mailing system to contact faculty first, so that they can emphasize the importance of student participation,” explained Laura Blasi, director of institutional assessment.

At other institutions the SAI survey is sometimes called “the course evaluation” or “the end-of-course evaluation,” Laura said. “Here at Valencia, as students complete the SAI, they are asked to focus on their learning experiences – instead of targeting their courses or instructors.”

The assessment indirectly teaches students to develop standards and expectations regarding their own educational experiences (read the SAI questions). When faculty members ask for student participation, they let students know that their opinions will be heard and encourage a collaborative course experience.

While the new system is in place, more work is still being done to make improvements. This summer, Carl Creasman convened a faculty work group to conduct research on course assessment. They gathered examples from other institutions and feedback from Valencia students via an online survey (read a summary of the student survey results).

“More recently, that work was discussed within the Faculty Council, as were possible next steps to be taken by the council,” Laura said. Read the July Faculty Governance Updates for more information on this work.

As a faculty member, you can look for opportunities to be involved, including helping to revise the SAI questions, or by attending faculty development courses to learn more about the new tool.

Please contact Laura Blasi, director of institutional assessment, at lblasi@valenciacollege.edu or at extension 3486, for immediate help or for questions about how you can use CoursEval results.

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