About the SLE

The Student Learning Experience Survey (SLE) offers students and instructors the opportunity to work together to improve the quality of teaching at Oregon State University. This process was known as the electronic Student Evaluation of Teaching (eSET) from 2012-2021 and the SET from 2004-2012.

The SLE consists of a set of standard university questions that were developed in alignment with the https://ctl.oregonstate.edu/quality-teaching. Quality Teaching Framework adopted by the Faculty Senate in 2021. In addition to the standard questions, instructors may also opt to ask students for input on their teaching methods in a personalized fashion (own questions). After the course withdrawal deadline, students are invited via email or Canvas to begin the survey process to provide feedback on their learning experience to their instructors in a convenient and confidential manner. Following the end of the survey period and after final grades are due, reports are generated. Once this process has been completed, instructors are informed via email that reports are available. Certain administrative staff from academic departments, colleges, and campuses are also able to view reports for their specific programs.

Interpreting Responses - Considerations for Faculty

What are the questions and scale?

The Student Learning Experience survey (SLE) consists of 14 survey questions and two open response questions (see below). All survey questions are posed on a scale of 1-6, without an N/A option. This is the same scale used by many of the Bacc Core assessment questions. The scale is: 1 = Completely Disagree, 2 = Mostly Disagree, 3 = Slightly Disagree, 4 = Slightly Agree, 5 = Mostly Agree, 6 = Completely Agree. In Winter 2022, based on student feedback, the option “Unable to Rate” was added to all questions.

These questions fall into three categories of the Quality Teaching Framework that address 1)  Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Learning, 2) Teaching as a discipline and 3) Mentorship. They broadly reflect: 1) Student perception of instructor behavior, actions; 2) Student perception of course design and; 3) Student affect.

Champions a culture of Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Learning.

Questions (rated 1-6)

What do they tell you?

My instructor modeled and promoted inclusivity.

Student perception of instructor behavior, actions

The course materials were accessible to me.

Student perception of course design

I felt like I belonged in this course.

How students felt

This course was structured so that I could work effectively with others who were different from me.

Student perception of course design

I had the necessary resources to achieve the course learning outcomes.

Student perception of course design

Course learning activities helped me connect to the content.

Student perception of course design

Practices teaching as a discipline.

Questions (rated 1-6)

What do they tell you?

The course was well organized.

Student perception of course design

Course activities gave me the chance to show my progress towards course learning outcomes.

Student perception of course design

Feedback on tests, assignments, and/or graded activities informed my thinking and learning.

Student perception of instructor behavior, actions

Directions and expectations for tests, assignments and/or graded activities were clear.

Student perception of course design

Tests, assignments and/or graded activities matched the course learning outcomes.

Student perception of course design

Mentors and advises learners.https://senate.oregonstate.edu/advancement-teaching-committee

Questions (rated 1-6)

What do they tell you?

My instructor addressed students' non-academic needs.

Student perception of instructor behavior, actions

I had opportunities to develop professional skills.

Student perception of course design

I had opportunities to become a better learner.

Student perception of course design

Open ended questions:

Questions (open text response)

What do they tell you?

Please comment on how the course positively supported your learning.

Student perception of instructor behavior, actions and/or course design

Please comment on how the course could better support your learning

Student perception of instructor behavior, actions and/or course design

Questions 1 and 2 from the old eSET remain per Faculty Senate request. These questions are on a scale of 1-6, Very Poor (1) j- Excellent (6), without an N/A option.

  1. The course as a whole was
  2. The instructor's contribution to the course was

These are the questions that the current Faculty Handbook requires on materials submitted for promotion and tenure.

What do the numbers mean for each of these questions? What trends should I look for?

Teaching is an evolving dynamic process. The SLE numbers provide a sense of the instructor’s alignment with the OSU QT Framework and provide suggestions for areas of pedagogical modification from the perspectives of the students who completed the survey.

When first reviewing your data, look at the trends. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What patterns do I see in the questions around inclusivity, teaching as a discipline or mentorship? Do the responses seem to agree with each other within these categories?
  2. How do my results compare to the Departmental and University averages? Does this surprise me based on my experience as an instructor (ie: first time vs highly experienced)? Does this surprise me based on who the learners are in my course (ie: first year students, non-majors, majors, etc.)? Does this surprise me based on my previous experience with student end of term surveys?
  3. Am I over-interpreting small differences in average scores? Just because these are numbers does not mean they are precise.

Once you have reviewed your results in terms of trends, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What might these data tell me about my students’ perceptions of my course to the extent at which this question asks? Do I have other data that support what these data suggest (such as peer feedback, classroom observations, mid-course feedback)? What other data could I get to provide evidence for or against what these data seem to suggest?
  2. What can I do with these data? Are there areas of these results that are not within my control? (Such as, was I handed a series of course policies and materials that I could not change?) Are there areas within my control? (Such as examples used in the course, availability of office hours?)

Key Considerations 

Once you have reviewed your results in terms of trends, ask yourself these questions:

In general, the higher the response rate, the more information the survey relays. Lower response rates are subject to influence of outlier responses. It is important to consider response rate, as lower rates may more strongly bias the results. In general, the larger the class size, the lower the response rate need for providing statistical validity. Instructor strategies for raising response rates are available here (link to AOT list on CTL site). The University is also engaged in discussion about how to bolster response rates institutionally.

Where can I find support to work on my ideas about student experiences in my courses?

The Center for Teaching and Learning offers services in analyzing and responding to feedback. One-on-one consultations are free. To schedule a consultation contact [email protected]. All meetings are confidential.

Faculty Training Opportunities are advertised via OSU's COVID-19 Safety and Success website. As of Spring 2022, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Academic Technologies and Ecampus (also known as the HUB) will host Teaching Professional Development (TPD) opportunities. These TPDs will be communicated on CTL's website and will clearly identify which of the three QT principles (and sub-principles) are supported.

Interpreting Responses - Considerations for Supervisors and Administrators

What are indicators of Quality Teaching? What are the limitations of the SLE data?

There is an abundance of research on all aspects of student evaluation of teaching effectiveness. The consensus in the literature is that while student evaluations are the most common strategy of evaluation, by themselves they are not sufficient to provide a complete evaluation of teaching (see Boysen, 2016 for recommendations). A collection of course materials provide an efficient way to document teaching effectiveness as part of the dossier. As stated in the OSU faculty handbook and featured in the Faculty Senate approved Quality Teaching Framework, self-reflections, peer observations, and other evidence of teaching rigor are key parts of a teaching dossier. Students, however, are in a unique position to make evaluations and are an appropriate source of information when they are judging student-instructor relationships, organization of the course, their views of the instructor’s professional and ethical behavior, their workload, what they have learned in the course, fairness of grading, and the instructor’s ability to communicate. They are not good sources from which to judge relevance and recency of course content, and knowledge and scholarship of the instructor. https://www.vpfa/psu.edu/files/2016/09/srte_statement-248pj9j.pdf 

Boysen, G. A. (2016). Using student evaluations to improve teaching: Evidence-based recommendations. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2(4), 273–284. https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000069

How should SLE data be considered in Annual Reviews and Promotion and Tenure?

Please note, as per the Office of Faculty Affairs, eSET/SLEs scores are not required to be reported for Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021,or Winter 2022. In absence of these data, faculty and administrators should continue their peer observations, including review of course materials.

The Office of Faculty Affairs and Faculty Senate Advancement of Teaching Committee are working together to provide guidance for Annual Reviews and Promotion and Tenure. Details are forthcoming Spring 2022.

A note from the Advancement of Teaching Committee Chair

The current work on the SLEs is a part of an ongoing effort coordinated by the Faculty Senate’s Advancement of Teaching Committee. Per the directives of Faculty Senate Presidents Bob Mason, Jon Dorbolo and Selina Heppel, the AOT committee has worked to lead efforts that reexamine teaching evaluation at OSU. Specifically, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee charged AOT to “Have an institutional wide conversation about Quality Teaching at OSU and the ways in which we identify it and continually work towards it.”

To date, the Faculty Senate adopted The Quality Teaching Framework, replaced the eSET questions with the current SLE questions, and is continuing to examine implementable recommendations for Teaching peer review, Faculty self-reflection and Teaching dossier/portfolio For more information about this work, please refer to OSU’s Faculty Senate, Advancement of Teaching Committee reference materials.

AOT, 2021-2022 Chair, Dr. Devon Quick.

 

February 11, 2022. This document will continue to be updated.