End-of-Course Ratings

Student Ratings of Instruction

Grinnell College uses a single, college-wide form to gather end-of-course student ratings of instruction. The instrument solicits student perceptions of how much they learned in the class and the extent to which specific elements contributed to their learning. The results from student ratings are sent to instructors and their department chairs for use in developing teaching goals; to provide feedback for personal learning, growth, and course improvement; and for use during faculty reviews.

Packets containing questionnaires and an instruction sheet are distributed to faculty members each semester on the Friday prior to the last week of classes.

Administrative Procedures

  • The form currently in use was adopted by the faculty in November of 2000, and was intended to be used universally across all faculty members and courses at the college with the exception of independent study, guided reading, individual music instruction, and similar courses taught at Grinnell College.
  • Since the form is not specific to any particular course, instructors may want to remind students of special course aspects to consider as they respond. Please encourage them to write comments! The forms should be completed in class.
  • All instructors are welcome to use feedback forms of their own designs to gather data not collected on the college-wide form. Secondary instruments are self-supported and used autonomously for course development and improvement purposes.
  • For courses with a lab component, instructors may receive one set of forms for the lecture and one set for the lab. Depending on the structure and degree of integration, it may or may not be useful to administer separate questionnaires. Instructors should use their own discretion in such circumstances.
  • In the case of team-taught courses, instructors may administer the form as a joint questionnaire (asking students to note instructor-specific comments as appropriate) or a second set of forms can be provided to rate each instructor separately. Instructors may use their own discretion in such circumstances or contact our office to discuss alternatives.
  • Packets are not generated for any course with an enrollment of one nor for any ALS, RED, THS, WRT, physical education activities, private music lessons, independent study, MAP, +2, or internship course. Instructors teaching excepted courses may still wish to utilize the standard form and are welcome to do so. Please contact LuAnn Wheeler (641-269-3450) to request forms.
  • Courses with non-standard schedules, and courses for which the number of class participants significantly exceeds the number of students enrolled for credit, should contact our office early in semester to make special arrangements. Department offices may keep extra forms on hand for special circumstances.
  • Materials for short courses, as well as the Grinnell-in-London and Grinnell-in-Washington programs, are delivered earlier in the semester.


  1. Packets of forms are delivered on the Monday prior to the last week of classes.
    • The packets are delivered to instructors' offices as listed in the campus directory. 
    • If an instructor needs forms before this date, please contact LuAnn Wheeler, 641-2693450. LuAnn has all of the packets and can provide blank forms in bulk should you need extras.
    • EOC forms are not automatically provided for all types of courses. Examples include independent studies, internships, and courses that have only one student enrolled. However, everyone is welcome to use these standard forms. Please contact LuAnn if you would like to use the form but were not sent a packet in the initial distribution.
    • "Return to" locations are centralized by department. Please reshuffle and re-label materials as may be practical or necessary.
  2. Instructors hand out the forms to their students in class. Students complete the forms in class while the instructor leaves the room.
  3. The students complete the forms in class and return the packets to the department offices (the "return to" location is listed on each packet label).
  4. The academic support staff members scan the forms and store the results as PDFs. These electronic copies are kept on file for department chair use.
    • The completed questionnaires are removed from the envelopes and arranged so they all face the same direction. 
    • Unused forms and instruction sheets are separated out and returned to analytic support; we can use leftover material next semester.
    • Double-sided scanned images are created.
    • The department chair scans also serve as a contingency procedure (backup copies are created before the forms leave the department office).
    • The scanned forms can be accessed by working with the academic support staff members and are made available to department chairs (after grades have been submitted) for departmental functions.
    • The original forms are put back in their envelopes and routed to analytic support for processing. The forms are usually sent in batches to John Chrystal Center after the last day of classes. Contact Facilities Management (641-269-3300) for hauling services.
  5. Analytic support processes the forms and puts them back in the envelope along with an explanatory sheet that contains College-wide statistics and an individual summary sheet.
  6. The processed packets are sent back to the department offices after grades have been submitted. The support staff then distributes the packets of results to the instructors.
  7. Analytic support places quantitative summary sheets for department chairs in network folders accessible by the academic support staff.

Department chairs should coordinate with support staff members regarding the use of these documents. Working with this material is a department chair responsibility, and consideration should be given to internal department procedures that will ensure that this information is available to the position of department chair for enduring use. Results from these forms are used in a variety of personnel matters and formative applications

The process is generally finished four to six weeks after the last day of finals. If someone needs the results sooner they may contact AIR.

These forms contain sensitive information; please be sure the materials are handled appropriately.

If you have questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Carlie VanWilligen, 641-269-4307


The results from student ratings of instruction are sent to instructors and their department chairs for use in developing teaching goals, and to provide feedback for personal learning, growth, and course improvement.

Summaries of student ratings data also are used in the faculty review process.

Please keep in mind several important points about the nature of student rating information. First, the numbers are not considered a direct measure of teaching effectiveness. Extensive research on this question (not done at Grinnell) suggests that student end-of-course ratings do tend to correlate with other measures of student learning, such as peer reviews or multi-section exam comparisons. At the same time, it is also acknowledged that some aspects of teaching are invisible to the students or go beyond what they are competent to evaluate. The information gathered with these instruments is limited to what the students are able to perceive and evaluate on the last day of the class. This limitation explains why Grinnell's overall system of teaching evaluation includes multiple measures, including peer observation of classes and review of teaching materials.

The end-of-course form currently in use at Grinnell College solicits student perceptions of how much they learned in the class and the extent to which specific elements contributed to their learning. Of course, no matter how carefully we word the questions, students may take this opportunity to express their thoughts more generally on their experience in the course, including how well it met their expectations and how they feel about the instructor. Therefore, it is especially important to understand these ratings as an indicator of student satisfaction with their classroom experience.

While understanding the limitations of the student ratings, the faculty has nonetheless endorsed their use, for two reasons:

  • This method provides all students with the opportunity to comment on what they perceive as more effective and less effective aspects of their learning experience in class. Having the students' perspective can be helpful both for the instructor (for example, to stimulate ideas about what one might do differently when offering the same course again) and for the department chair who helps instructors to clarify their goals and strengthen their teaching.
  • These student ratings are linked with multiple other measures, as described above, to build a more comprehensive picture of teaching effectiveness during a faculty review. The Faculty Personnel Committee, and the faculty as a whole, has decided that no single measure is sufficient. Used in combination, however, they comprise a set of data generally found helpful in reaching a recommendation for the review.

Sample Material 

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Sample instruction sheet, rating form, and quantitative summary

College-Wide Results

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Triennial benchmark statistics: 2008-09 through 2010-11
Triennial benchmark statistics: 2007-08 through 2009-10
Triennial benchmark statistics: 2006-07 through 2008-09
Triennial benchmark statistics: 2005-06 through 2007-08
Triennial benchmark statistics: 2004-05 through 2006-07

Spring 2015
Fall 2014
Spring 2014
Fall 2013
Spring 2013
Fall 2012
Spring 2012
Fall 2011
Spring 2011
Fall 2010
Spring 2010
Fall 2009
Spring 2009
Fall 2008
Spring 2008
Fall 2007
Spring 2007
Fall 2006
Spring 2006
Fall 2005
Spring 2005
Fall 2004
Spring 2004
Fall 2003
Spring 2003
Fall 2002
Spring 2002
Fall 2001
Spring 2001
Fall 2000

End of Course Ratings Research

You will need Adobe's Acrobat Reader to view the material in this section. The Reader software lets you view and print Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

End-of-Course Student Ratings of Instruction
October, 2000

End-of-Course Evaluations: Spring 1999 Results
October, 1999

End-of-Course Evaluations Study: Phase I
March, 1999

Additional Reading

The IDEA Center
Individual Development and Educational Assessment Center
Kansas State University

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