IDEA Instructions

IDEA—Directions for APU Faculty

(Please keep for future use.)

For use with IDEA Diagnostic (burgundy) or Short (orange) Form and Faculty Information (blue) Form.

This page contains all the information you will normally need to use IDEA in your classes. If you require more specific information in any area, please contact the person on your campus who coordinates the use of the IDEA Student Ratings of Instruction system. These directions are divided into the following sections:

  1. Marking your Faculty Information Form
  2. Brief Description of IDEA Objectives
  3. Using Additional Questions with the IDEA System
  4. Instructions for Administering the IDEA System in Class

1. Marking your Faculty Information Form

The Faculty Information Form provides direct input for your IDEA Report. Please read the "Important Instructions" on the Faculty Information Form and follow them completely. If you do not, the processing of your course may be incomplete or inaccurate. Be especially careful to use a No. 2 PENCIL and completely blacken each circle.

Only the first 11 letters of your last name and your two initials are to be printed. Beginning with the first box at the top of the form, print each of the letters of your last name in a separate box. Print your initials in the last two boxes at the extreme right of the name section. Then, in the columns below each box, completely darken the alphabetical character which corresponds to the letter you have written in the box above.

Complete the remaining sections. 

Objectives: Your weighting of these objectives is very important because it describes the uniqueness of your course by defining its purposes (what students are supposed to learn--see page three, Brief Description of IDEA Objectives). Weight each of them as: M = "Minor or No Importance"; I = "Important"; or E = "Essential" by blackening the appropriate letter. No course can be all things to all students. We recommend that you select no more than 3-5 objectives either as "Essential" or "Important." As a general rule, if you choose three objectives, only one should be "Essential"; if you choose five, only two should be "Essential". Your choices should prioritize what you want students to learn in your course. 

In selecting "Essential" or "Important" objectives, ask yourself three questions: 

  1. Is this a significant part of the course? 
  2. Do I do something specific to help the students accomplish this objective? 
  3. Does the student's progress on this objective affect his or her grade?

If you answer "Yes," then that objective should probably be weighted "E" or "I" on the Faculty Information Form. The phrase "Minor or No Importance" recognizes that in most courses some of the twelve objectives will be considerably less important than others, even though some attention may be given to them. An "M" should be selected on the Faculty Information Form for such objectives. If you have questions, contact your IDEA On-Campus Coordinator.

Days: Blacken completely each day of the week the class meets.

Department Code: From the table on the next page use the four-digit modified CIP academic code for the department in which this course is taught. This code is used to help identify your course and, in some institutions, may be helpful in developing a summary report for the department. See attached page for Azusa Pacific University Department Codes. Further definitions can be found by consulting our extended listing.

Time Class Begins: Blacken completely the time the class begins. This information helps ensure that your report is for the correct section.

Course Number: The purpose of this number is to permit you to identify the class corresponding to your IDEA Report. Typically the last four digits of the Course ID are used. For example, the numbers 1101 would be used for Art 1101, Math 1101, etc., with the departments determined by the previously selected CIP code. Blacken completely the course numbers. If your institution uses only three numbers for its course ID, enter 0 in the column on the left and then the actual course number.

Number Enrolled: Blacken completely the three numbers corresponding to the number of students enrolled in your class; e.g., if 9 are enrolled, mark 009; if 23 are enrolled, mark 023, etc. (If 1,000 or more, mark 999.) This information helps determine how representative your results are.

Local Code: Please insert the Call# of your class. This is the four-digit number assigned to your course by the office of the registrar that can be found in the course schedule.

Contextual Questions (Research Purposes): There are six questions in this section, some of which require multiple responses. These questions help describe the context in which the course was taught. Future research will determine how interpretations of your results should be altered by contextual considerations. As in the previous sections, please blacken the appropriate responses.

II. Brief Description of IDEA Objectives

Because the IDEA system defines effective teaching in terms of progress on the objectives of the particular course, it is crucial that very thoughtful consideration be given to the selection of "Essential" and "Important" objectives on the Faculty Information Form. The students' reports of their progress on those objectives become the primary criterion to evaluate that course! 

For a more thorough discussion about selecting IDEA Objectives, please see the article, "Some Thoughts on Selecting IDEA Objectives." (PDF). One important recommendation is to discuss the meaning of the objectives with your class early in the semester so a common understanding is reached.

This brief summary organizes the objectives into three groups: A) Subject Matter Mastery; B) Development of General Skills; and C) Personal Development. The number used for each objective (1-12) is that used on the Faculty Information Form.

Subject Matter Mastery
  1. Gaining factual knowledge (terminology, classifications, methods, trends)
    Objective's focus: building a knowledge base
  2. Learning fundamental principles, generalizations, or theories
    Objective's focus: connecting facts, understanding relationships
  3. Developing specific skills, competencies, and points of view needed by professionals in the field most closely related to this course
    Objective's focus: developing skills, abilities, or attitudes of a beginning professional
Development of General Skills
  1. Learning to apply course material (to improve thinking, problem solving, and decisions)
    Objective's focus: applying what you have learned in this class to clarify thinking or solve problems
  2. Acquiring skills in working with others as a member of a team
    Objective's focus: learning to function effectively in multiple team roles
  3. Developing creative capacities (writing, inventing, designing, performing in art, music, drama, etc.)
    Objective's focus: flexibility and divergence in thinking, elaboration of thoughts and insights, imagination, expressiveness of individuality
  4. Developing skill in expressing oneself orally or in writing
    Objective's focus: effective oral and written communication
  5. Learning how to find and use resources for answering questions or solving problems
    Objective's focus: functioning as an independent learner
  6. Learning to analyze and critically evaluate ideas, arguments, and points of view
    Objective's focus: higher level thinking skills (either within or outside of a disciplinary context)
Personal Development
  1. Gaining a broader understanding and appreciation of intellectual/cultural activity (music, science, literature, etc.)
    Objective's focus: gaining and valuing a "Liberal Education"
  2. Developing a clearer understanding of, and commitment to, personal values
    Objective's focus: developing a sound basis for making lifestyle decisions
  3. Acquiring an interest in learning more by asking questions and seeking answers
    Objective's focus: developing attitudes and behaviors to support life long learning

III. Using Additional Questions with the IDEA System

One of the major criticisms of using a standard form for students' ratings of instruction and courses is that such questions may not be sensitive to some of the unique aspects of a course. The IDEA system offers you the opportunity to ask additional questions (PDF) to assess particular aspects of your course. The following steps should be followed when preparing additional questions:

Step 1: Remember that you must prepare and duplicate the additional questions on a separate sheet. Up to 19 additional questions may be asked on the Diagnostic Form beginning with item 48 through 66. Up to 10 additional questions may be asked on the Short Form beginning with item 19 through 28.
Step 2: You may use up to five response options for each question; these responses should be numbered (1), (2), (3), (4), (5); NOT lettered. Examples of common questions and options are available from your IDEA On-Campus Coordinator or from our Web page.
Step 3: Sheets with the additional questions should be distributed along with the student response forms at the time of administration. The IDEA Report will present the distribution of the students' responses and the average and standard deviation for each additional question. You may also ask questions which require a written response. These questions may be answered on the back of the student response forms, which will be returned to your institution following processing. Or, if you want to give your students more space, provide them with a separate sheet of paper for their written comments. Do NOT send these separate sheets to the Center; they should be kept by your institution.

IV. Instructions for Administering the IDEA System in Class

The following steps outline the procedures for administering the IDEA system. They vary somewhat depending upon which form of IDEA you are using. The DIAGNOSTIC FORM of IDEA uses the burgundy opscan form with 47 items. The SHORT FORM uses the grape opscan form with 18 items.

Step 1: Complete a Faculty Information Form (blue) for each class.
Step 2: Distribute the student opscan forms (and the sheets with additional questions, if any). Remind the students to use a No. 2 PENCIL.
Step 3: Write on the chalkboard the information for the four items on the opscan form: (1) Institution; (2) Instructor's name; (3) Course number; (4) Time and days class meets. These items are on the front of both the burgundy form, and the grape form.
Step 4: Unless your institution has its own standardized directions, the following instructions to the students should be read aloud:
Your ratings will be most helpful to the instructor and to the institution if you answer thoughtfully and honestly. Students sometimes wonder, "If the course was well taught and I learned a lot, should I rate every item high?" The answer is "No." IDEA focuses on what the instructor was trying to teach and on what you learned. As such, an instructor is not expected to do well on every item. In recognition of this, items not related to this course are not counted in the final evaluation.

Note: IF the data will be used for personnel decisions, the students should also be told this; for example: As student raters, you should also know that the results of your ratings will be used as part of decisions related to promotion/tenure/salary increases. Fairness to both the individual and the institution require accurate and honest answers.

Step 5: To insure objectivity and uniformity, after the instructions have been given, the instructor should leave the room while the students complete the student response forms. Have either a member of the class, teaching assistant, or colleague take charge. Arrange for the materials to be returned to the designated office as soon as the students have finished.