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September 24, 2007

Results of course evaluations made available to students

The quantitative results of student evaluations of university courses in the schools of Earth Sciences, Education, Engineering, and Humanities and Sciences will be made widely available to Stanford students on Axess ( starting Tuesday, Sept. 25.

Provost John Etchemendy made the decision to make the results available following a review of a new online evaluation system introduced by the Registrar's Office in December 2006. That new system, which eliminated cumbersome paper evaluations, resulted in an 88.8 percent participation rate among students, who were offered such incentives to participate as gift cards and an earlier look at their grades.

For more than 30 years, evaluations were made public through a course guide published by the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU). The course guide was suspended by the ASSU in early 2007 as the new online system went into effect.

"The new online course evaluation system is a definite success, and the data are clearly valid," said Etchemendy. "So we feel comfortable once again making the results available to students as they plan their classes."

Courses with at least three students enrolled are subject to student evaluation. All student evaluations are anonymous. Qualitative comments from the evaluations will not be made public and can be seen only by the course instructor.

About 2,000 classes each quarter are subject to evaluation. The number of course evaluations available online will increase as the Law School is added this quarter. The data includes all of the last academic year and will be available indefinitely.

To test the validity of the course evaluation system, the Registrar's Office worked with a consultant to review the data and ensure its accuracy.

"We owe the success of this system to the students," said Jackie Charonis, associate registrar. "Because of their great response rates, we have a lot of data for the community's use in reviewing the quality of our instruction at Stanford."



Kate Chesley, University Communications: (650) 725-3697,

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