About the Instructional Assessment System (IAS)
What is the IAS?
The Instructional Assessment System (IAS) is a method to collect and report student ratings of instruction. It consists of a well-established paper-based system using machine-readable evaluation forms, with a parallel web-based system for use in online courses.
- a collection of scannable course evaluation forms to assess various instructional formats or educational outcomes, all of which can be augmented with instructor-created questions
- a suggested open-ended Comment Sheet for detailed student feedback to instructors
- end-of-term summary reports for each course
- end-of-term summaries for deans and chairs listing the highest and lowest rated faculty within departments
- annual ratings summaries for deans and chairs giving the average ratings for each department in comparison to its respective college and the institution overall
IAS Online achieves analogous flexibility with regard to course format by allowing program staff to select from a pool of items or add original course-specific item text via an interactive user interface.
How are course evaluations used?
IAS course ratings are intended to provide faculty with information about specific aspects of their instruction that students find effective and others that might need improvement. Course evaluations also capture more general ratings to help students choose courses effectively, and to assist administrators in making decisions about course offerings and teaching assignments, or to inform promotion and tenure decisions.
Development of Course Evaluation Forms
In building the IAS, we worked with faculty to identify broad course types that cut across academic disciplines, and then created distinct evaluation questions for each instructional format. We initially created separate forms for five approaches to instruction: small lecture/discussion, large lecture, seminar/discussion, problem solving, and skill acquisition. We subsequently developed additional forms for other formats, as well as a unique form focusing on educational outcomes rather than method of instruction.
Evaluation forms include three types of items. Diagnostic items are specific to a particular form, and are used by faculty to examine the instructional process and identify actions that might be taken toward improvement. Informative items, such as student expected grade, are common to all forms and assist in interpretation of evaluation results. Also included on all forms, normative items are intentionally global in nature and ask students for an overall rating of the course. These items apply equally well to all types of classes and are useful both for course selection by students, and for administrative decision-making.
Development of IAS Online
IAS Online extends the paper-based Instructional Assessment System (IAS) to the online environment. This system is most appropriately used to assess courses that are themselves delivered over the Internet, so that student access to evaluation forms can be integrated easily into course delivery.
To create the online system, we began with IAS Form I, designed for distance learning courses, modifying and adding items to fit the online environment. To accommodate the wide diversity of courses having some type of online component, we added the capability for program staff to add their own course-specific items at the time they "build" the evaluation form for a particular course.