Student Evaluation Policy


Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI) Principles and Policies (April 1, 2016; revised and reaffirmed Nov. 29, 2017, with addition of final two paragraphs)



  1. The overarching goal of the SEI process is continuous improvement of education at CSU.
  2. More specifically, the SEI process is intended to provide faculty feedback from students for evaluating, improving, and refining their methods of instruction.
  3. Accordingly, personnel action (promotion, denial of promotion, renewal, non-renewal, merit awards, discipline, or sanction) should not be undertaken solely on the basis of SEI data. The SEI should not be construed as the sole or primary evidence of competence or excellence in teaching.  Rather, the SEI is part of a constellation of materials that document teaching performance, including, but not limited to, peer observations, teaching portfolios, and student outcomes.

Administration of the SEI

  1. Each semester, the SEI will be opened for students at the beginning of the twelfth week of classes and close at the end of the fourteenth week of classes.  Courses whose opening and closing dates do not fit the semester schedule will have the evaluation window scaled appropriately.
  2. At the opening of the evaluation window, faculty will supplement the reminders delivered by the on-line software by reading the following statement of purpose and guarantee of anonymity to the students: “You are about to complete an electronic student evaluation of your instructor.  The purpose of this evaluation is for the student to provide constructive feedback to improve the learning experience at Cleveland State University.  Please do not identify yourself in your responses.  Responses will be kept anonymous.  The course instructor will not see the results of this evaluation until after final grades are submitted and posted.”
  3. While faculty may remind students to complete evaluations, they should take care not to provide any individualized incentives or disincentives, whether explicit or implied, to affect the students’ responses to the SEI.  If the faculty member provides time in class for completion of the SEI, she or he must be absent from the classroom during such time.
  4. In order to ensure adequate student participation, faculty may use the following practices to motivate students:
    • Remind students that their evaluation data helps other students choose their instructors, using the “courseeval” site.
    • Set aside class time for students to complete the SEI, as long as the instructor is not present.
    • Offer a reward for the entire class if a certain threshold of participation is reached. (For example, the instructor might offer a modest amount of extra credit if 90% of students fill out the SEI by a certain date.)
    • Send email reminders to the class.
    • Post reminders and a link to the SEI page on the course Blackboard page.

Reporting of SEI Data to Faculty

  1. SEI reports to faculty will incorporate the following standard calculations provided by the software for each SEI question: mean, mode, median, along with distribution bar graphs.
  2. The comparators in such reports will be the current department and college means for each question.
  3. Aggregate reports of SEI data will be sent to chairs and deans.  In addition, chairs or their designees will have access to the individual reports of each faculty member, including both the quantitative and qualitative responses.

Campus Access to SEI Data

  1. In order to inform students as to their peers’ assessment of courses and instructors, the Faculty Senate is committed to sharing SEI data with students in accordance with the following principles.
    1. All access must pass through appropriate secure authentication.
    2. Resources permitting, Institutional Research will work with appropriate faculty and student governance mechanisms, including UFAC, Faculty Senate, and Student Government Association, to determine the data to be shared and the implementation method for sharing it.
    3. These governance and administrative units will monitor the data to ensure its validity and determine when a sufficient data set has been gathered for that data to be statistically reliable.
  2. Faculty will have the same access to this data as students.
  3. Requests for reports upon or analysis of SEI data should be directed to the Chair of the University Faculty Affairs Committee and Director of Institutional Research; requesters must provide a rationale for the request.

Inclusions and Exclusions for SEI Data Collection

  1. Unless an exemption is deemed necessary by a College/School, all academic activities with a course number will be evaluated using the SEI process. Where Blue cannot perform evaluations for a particular academic activity due to current technical limitations, an alternative method will be used in a manner appropriate to that activity as determined by the unit’s Dean’s office and College/School Faculty Affairs Committee.  The goal is for Blue, ultimately, to be able to capture all evaluation data.
  1. College/School Faculty Affairs Committees will be responsible for determining the evaluation needs and parameters, if any, for their College or School; this determination is expected to be stable over time. The Committee will determine which courses, if any, are to be excluded from the evaluation process.  For example, some Committees may determine not to include thesis or independent study courses in the evaluation process.
  2. A representative for the College or School will work with Institutional Research to implement changes consistent with the capabilities of the Blue software.

 2.   A course enrolling fewer than 5 students will be excluded from reports, to ensure student anonymity, except in the case of combined             or cross listed courses.  For those courses data will be reported in aggregate.

3.   Data for non-grade-earning students, e.g., Project60 students, may be collected but only data for grade-earning students will be reported

Alternative methods of evaluation of teaching effectiveness for low-enrollment classes

Given the important role of student evaluations in an instructor’s dossier for reappointment, promotion and tenure, it is important to recognize that some faculty members may primarily teach either low enrollment courses or low enrollment sections of a course. This results in student evaluations not being made available to the instructor for reasons of preserving student anonymity.  Academic units should devise alternative methods of evaluating teaching effectiveness in such cases.  Alternative methods could include, for example, peer evaluations of those sections.

For SEI Report to Chairs/ Directors

This language will be included at the top of SEI reports from Institutional Research to chairs and School Directors.

Department Chairs/School Directors: Please note that the SEI report you receive includes individual faculty reports of courses with fewer than five respondents. In an effort to protect student anonymity, a faculty senate approved policy states that these reports must not be made available to faculty; therefore, they should not be used to evaluate faculty performance. Please adhere to this policy. Due to limitations with the Blue system, the report to chairs/directors cannot be changed to remedy this issue.