Frequently Asked Questions about End of Semester Course Evaluations

How do instructors access teaching evaluation reports?

Go to http://www.upenn.edu/u@penn, login with your PennKey and select My Course Evaluations from the Student Advising & Admin Resources channel.

Which schools and courses at Penn use Penn course evaluations?

Ten of Penn’s twelve schools use Penn Course Evaluations:

  • Annenberg School for Communication
  • School of Arts & Sciences
  • Penn Dental Medicine
  • Penn Design
  • School of Engineering & Applied Science
  • Graduate School of Education
  • School of Nursing
  • Perelman School of Medicine (Biomedical Graduate Studies)
  • Social Policy & Practice
  • Wharton School

The School of Law, the School of Medicine’s MD program, and the School of Veterinary Medicine use their own evaluation systems.

Can I get feedback before the end of the semester?

Yes. Penn offers an additional feedback system, available throughout much of the semester, called Course Feedback for Instructors or CFI. This system allows instructors to get confidential feedback from their students and to to focus on their own concerns by picking questions from a bank of questions. In addition, instructors are the only people who see the feedback from this system.

My reports don't contain evaluations for my most recently-taught courses.  Where are they?

Please check with your school or departmental administrators. There can be multiple reasons: the school may have chosen to exclude a particular course, you may not have been added as an instructor in the registration system in time for the evaluation system to be aware of your teaching assignment, or there may not have been sufficient enrollment in the course (6 or more students) for reporting the course evaluation data.

How are the courses chosen for evaluation?  Why are some courses not chosen to be evaluated?

The process for organizing the courses for evaluation is managed by administrators in each school. If you have a question about your course being chosen for evaluation, you should contact your school or departmental administrator.

Who will see my teaching evaluations?

Instructors will automatically have access to evaluations for course sections where they are listed as the instructor. Program and school administrators, department chairs and sometimes undergraduate chairs will have access to course evaluation reports at the discretion of school administration. Anyone with a Penn ID can see instructor evaluations in the Penn Course Review. (There are some questions (like the one about cheating) that Penn Course Review does not show.)

What do the numbers about cheating indicate?

The question asks students “To your knowledge has there been cheating in this course?” Because this is a yes/no question, students are only given the option of answering 0 (yes) or 1 (no).

What is the difference between the numbers for instructor, seciton, course and subject?

These numbers reflect the breakdown of courses that are taught with multiple sections, multiple TAs or multiple classes. So for example for a class like Math 104 has multiple sections each semester and multiple recitations with TAs. The instructor number would reflect the instructor for that class (Math 104-001 for example); the number for the section would be the same for the instructor and different for the TAs for each section (Math 104-251 for example); the number for the course would reflect the average of all Math 104 courses (including recitations) that semester; the number for subject would reflect the average of all Math classes that semester.
Other courses like Biology 101 have multiple instructors. In courses like those, the instructor number reflects the instructor being evaluated and the section number is the average of all the instructors. The course number is the average of different biology 101 sections (including labs) taught that semester and the subject number is the average for all biology courses.

If I'm teaching a course with another instructor (or instructors), are the comments separated by instructor?

Generally, the system does not separate out comments for individual instructors in team-taught courses unless the student mentions an instructor by name.

How do students access their course evaluations?

You should send students to http://www.upenn.edu/eval to fill out their evaluations.

What sould I tell my students about end-of-semester Penn course evaluations?

The most important way to ensure a good response rate and make sure you receive thoughtful feedback from students is to communicate the importance of course evaluations to the success of Penn’s academic programs and to the instructor’s efforts to make the class better for future students. Instructors may want to take a few minutes in class to encourage students to complete their evaluations by talking with them about how they use student feedback and the sorts of feedback they find most useful.

Do students know their grades before completing evaluations?

No. Students must complete or opt out of all their evaluations before viewing their final grades in Penn In Touch. However, when instructors use Canvas gradebook students often know their final grade before they complete their evaluations. Because evaluations may be biased by student’s knowledge of their grades, instructors may want to reconsider how they report grades to students. The only way to guarantee that a student evaluates a course prior to knowing the final grade is if students learn their grade only through the Penn in Touch system.

What rating scale do students see when they fill out these forms?

Students are asked to rate the professor of the course on each question using several different scales. Some questions ask students to rate “Poor, Fair, Good, Very good, Excellent.” Other scales ask students the extent to which they agree or disagree.

If you are having difficulty finding your course evaluations, please contact your schools’ evaluation administrator.

If you have other questions or concerns about your end of semester course evaluations contact the Center for Teaching and Learning.