OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Combined Versus Uncombined Reports

To Combine or Not to Combine Reports for Slash Courses

  • Combining reports needs to be considered in the context of the number of students registered for each course as a whole versus slash sections of the course. If there are fewer than 6 students associated with an course, then, to protect student anonymity, no evauations will occur for that course.
  • Combining reports increases the number of courses that are evaluated because slash courses are then treated as one course with respect to evaluations. For example, if 5 students are registered for BI 309 and 5 for ZOO 309, combined reports would see it as 10 students. Having uncombined reports the system would see it as 5 students and 5 students, then no evaluations would be triggered at all.
  • The table below shows how many courses/students would not have been evaluated if reports were not combined (combined Fall 2011, Winter 2012, and Spring 2012).
# of Cross Listed Courses # of Sections <6 Students Number of Students Potentially Excluded # of 400-Level Slash Sections that would Potentially be Excluded # of 500-Level Slash Sections that would Potentially be Excluded # of Students Potentially Excluded
3987 1766 3031 216 616 1622

 

  • Uncombined reports allow faculty to differentiate responses in 400/500 slash courses, which is important since learning outcomes and the course experience are different for graduate versus undergraduate students in the course.
  • One possible solution to obtain course evaluation data from graduate students in 400/500 slash courses is to automatically add graduate-specific questions to the eSET. Such questions would be accompanied by a disclaimer like:

 

The following questions provide additional information about the course objectives.  In some instances, responses to these questions may make it easier to infer a particular participant’s identity, depending on the number of graduate students in the course. Accordingly, while OSU would like to receive this information, OSU emphasizes responding to the following questions is voluntary.

 


 

Background: Following the Fall 2011 release of reports, numerous faculty requested distinct reports for “slash courses,” or cross listings and sections taught by the same instructor at the same time, rather than having a combined report. In an attempt to respond to this request we implemented a change to the electronic student evaluation of teaching (eSET) reporting system to have separate reports by section. Unfortunately, in some cases this change resulted in low student “class sizes” prompting us to implement safeguards to restrict access to the reports to preserve student anonymity. This resulted in faculty receiving messages like "sorry you do not have permission to view this page" and an inability for departments to download batch files.

The change in eSET report generation has necessitated guidance and decision-making by the Faculty Senate around the generation of eSET reports to both preserve student anonymity and to meet promotion and tenure (P & T) needs. In order to address the immediate concerns about report access and upcoming P & T processes, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, in consultation with the Office of Academic Programs, Assessment, and Accreditation, has reached the following decision:

Decision by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Office of Academic Programs, Assessment, and Accreditation: Preserving student anonymity in Student Evaluations of Teaching is of the highest importance, both for the integrity of the responses students give, and to recognize student trust in the process. Therefore, we have decided to eliminate factors that could, even indirectly, enable a faculty member to identify a student (this is independent of a student’s choice to self-reveal). All reports for cross listings and sections taught by the same instructor at the same time (aka “slash courses”) will be combined.

In addition, reports for courses with enrollments of fewer than 6 students (1-5 students) will be unavailable, and evaluations will not be collected on courses with fewer than 6 students in the current and upcoming terms. Lastly, “demographic” data (i.e. graduate/undergraduate level, auditing/grade, etc.) will not be collected.