Aug. 7, 2020

Ratings get revamped

Three changes to Universal Student Rating of Instructions this summer

Summer session is almost complete and students have received their Universal Student Rating of Instructions (USRI). Now until Aug. 12, students will have the opportunity to provide their thoughts on their summer courses with their instructors. “The University of Calgary is committed to ensuring high-quality teaching and learning experiences and the USRIs are an important questionnaire to understand student feedback,” says Leslie Reid, vice-provost (teaching and learning).

However, this summer the USRI will look a little different.

There will be three changes to the USRI and its reporting to ensure the questionnaire supports best use of student feedback. Changes include:

  • The removal of the overall instruction question #2.1 (Q1) from the report and the survey. This question is unclear and its removal encourages looking at all the other questions in context, which are more specific, to interpret student feedback.
  • Removal of the comparators; and,
  • Replacing means with modes.

These recommendations help ensure the USRI aligns with best practices on the use of student ratings. More details about the changes and the rationale behind them are on the USRI Review Working Group website.

Where did the recommendations to change the USRI come from?

The USRI questionnaire launched in 1998. 2003 was the last time it was reviewed and studied. “The changes to the USRI are intended to improve the experience and use of the current questionnaire, while campus-wide consultations and subsequent recommendations on what we want in a new form take place,” says Reid.

“There have been significant advancements in understanding and administering student ratings over the last two decades. The questionnaire should reflect this. That is why the General Faculties Counsel (GFC) has established a working group to study and make recommendations on a new student rating questionnaire.”

The working group was struck as part of the GFC Teaching and Learning Committee in November 2018. It is their responsibility to review and provide recommendations on the administrative processes, data collection and communication and education plans currently in place with the USRI.

Since the USRI Review Working Group began, it has conducted a literature summary on student ratings of instruction, which informed the recommendations regarding changes to the USRI submitted to GFC. These changes are to improve the experience and use of the current USRI questionnaire, while campus-wide consultations and subsequent recommendations on a new questionnaire to capture feedback on students’ learning experiences take place.

For more information on the work being done, visit the USRI Review Working Group website