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Course Evaluation FAQ

General Questions

When is the evaluation period?

Course evaluations are sent out two weeks before the last day of the term and are open for three weeks.

Won’t students know their grades before completing evaluations? Won’t instructors be able to see some evaluations before assigning grades for the class?

No. Students must complete or opt out of all their evaluations before viewing their grades (see below). Instructors will not be able to see reports on their course evaluations until after the grade submission period is over.

Student Questions

What are the benefits of participating in the online course evaluations for students?

There are three main reasons students should complete their evaluations.

  1. Strengthen teaching at Penn-Instructors use the course evaluations to improve their teaching.
    Each instructor receives a compilation of the responses and the comments to use in evaluating their own teaching and planning future courses.
  2. Make Penn Course Review even better-The student editors of the Penn Course Review use course evaluations to write the guide choosing classes. So, the greater numbers of evaluations and better quality comments will lead to more detailed information next semester when students are selecting courses.
  3. Assess instruction-Colleagues, department chairs, Deans, and the Provost use student reviews as a part of the tenure and promotion process. Teaching excellence matters in deciding whether a professor gets promoted and student evaluations are an important part of evaluating a professor’s teaching abilities. For adjunct faculty and graduate student teachers, evaluations are used by department administrators and supervisors to improve performance and make hiring decisions.

What will the online course evaluation be like for students?

Students will log onto the course evaluation system by clicking a link on the Penn portal, Penn In Touch system, or by clicking on a link in a reminder email. They will use PennKey authentication to confirm their identity. Once logged on, the evaluations will be completed by clicking answers to the questions and by typing answers to the open-ended questions. Students will have the option to save and come back later to complete.

Most evaluations have approximately 22 questions (more if you have additional questions added bt the instructors) and we estimate it will take five to ten minutes to complete.

How will students be encouraged to complete the online evaluations?

Students will receive an announcement via email to let them know once the course evaluations are available. If they do not complete the evaluation, they will receive an email reminder or two until the evaluation period ends. 

Course evaluations are sent out two weeks before the last day of the term and are open for three weeks. Students who have not evaluated their courses will be prompted to do so when they check their grades.

You mean I can’t see my grades if I don’t fill out an evaluation?

No. Students may still access your grades without completing an evaluation. When students who have not completed all their course evaluations go online to check their grades through the Penn In Touch system, they will be prompted to complete their evaluations. However, the evaluation system will have an OPT OUT option for each evaluation. Before viewing grades during the evaluation period, students must either complete their evaluations or opt out of their evaluations.

How will the online course evaluation system protect student anonymity?

Although each student uses PennKey authentication when logging onto the system and the system uses that information to present the proper courses to evaluate, the student’s name and PennID are not stored with the evaluation record.

Each instructor will receive a report compiling the information from all the evaluations in a course. However, those reports do not present information that could identify an individual. Similarly, a department or school may create reports about an instructor’s or program’s teaching evaluation. Those reports will never present information that could identify an individual. As a general rule, courses with two or fewer students and independent study courses will not be evaluated. Each school will manage the process of selecting which courses are evaluated through the system.

Instructor Questions

Who will see my teaching evaluations?

As is the case now, instructors and program or school administrators will receive reports about course evaluations. This will not change. The evaluation data will be placed in the data warehouse where it will be available to school and departmental administrators.

How will the future of the general course evaluation form be determined?

One advantage of the online course evaluation system is the flexibility of the questionnaire. Faculty in the different schools and programs will be able to develop questions tailored to their own curricula. In addition, individual instructors will be able to develop their own questions and include them in the questionnaire for their courses.

Contact the Penn GSE Student Records Office

GSE Student Records Office
3700 Walnut Street - 2nd Floor

Michael Fennell
GSE Registrar & Director of Student Records

Nicole Guerrero
Coordinator, Student Records Office