Guidelines to Students on Providing Constructive Feedback [PDF - 100 KB]

SRI In-class Procedures [PDF - 39 KB]

Policy for Student Ratings of Instruction [PDF - 420 KB]

Sample SRI Forms [PDF - 1.2 MB]

Department Liasions

Report Stats

General Dictionary - Attributes

Positive Attributes
A subcategory within the attributes category. Themes within the positive subcategory are intended to identify aspects of a subject that the commenter views as an asset.

Negative Attributes
A subcategory within the attributes category. Themes within the negative subcategory are intended to identify aspects of a subject that the commenter feels need improvement.

Neutral Attributes
Neutral is a theme within the attributes category. Comments classified as neutral by Text Analytics mention feedback that is neither positive or negative. Only one theme is provided to capture neutral comments so that the majority of comments are placed in themes in the arguably more useful positive and negative categories.

SRI Support


Anchors/Scales - the response category used in the quantitative sections of the Evaluation Form. For example, ‘very poor’, ‘poor’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘good’ and ‘excellent’.

Banner File – A data file generated by the Banner System.

BLUE System – The name of the software system that supports the online electronic Student Ratings of Instruction process.

Class - A unit of instruction in a particular subject identified by a name, number and CRN.

Co-located Course – a teaching experience which occurs in at least one semester whereby more than one course, as designated by course name, number and CRN, will be taught in the same classroom by at least one instructor. For example (CSCI 1234 CRN4321) and (CSCI 5678 CRN 8765) taught in the same classroom. Students register separately for each course.

Course - This identifies a single course of instruction in the BLUE system. Also called Class in the University Calendar. Each course is identified by a name, number and a CRN.

CRN (Course Reference Number) - Each course has a Course Reference Number (CRN) attached to it which is assigned by the Registrars’ Office and change every term. This number is to be used in the BLUE system to identify a course.

Cross-listed Course – A course that is offered to students by more than one department, of which only one can be the Host Department.

Department Designate – Individuals identified by the Department Head/Director to represent the department in matters of the SRI process. The role of these individuals may be to enter the Departmental Questions, complete the DCVP, and to respond to questions concerning the SRI process within/for their department. They may also be referred to as the Department Liaisons.

Department Liaisons – See Department Designate

Departmental Course Verification Process (DCVP) – The process whereby the department head or his/her delegate can determine: (1) which courses will be evaluated in a particular term; and, (2) the name of the instructor who will be teaching a course if different from the Instructor of Record. The file sent from the CLT to the Departments is generated by a Banner File.

Employee Data File – A data file compiled by Administrative Computing of Dalhousie University that contains the list of instructors and students for the university. This file is a Required File and must be uploaded to the BLUE System in order for a course to be evaluated.

Evaluation Form – The evaluation form used by Dalhousie University has 4 sections:

Section A – Teaching Effectiveness
    Universal Questions 1-8
    Question 9 – Required/Elective
    Question 10 – Motivation For Taking This Class

Section B – Department Questions
    Questions 11-15

Section C – Instructor Questions
    Questions 16-20

Section D – Comments (Signed and Unsigned)
    Open-ended Questions (3)

Home Department – The department by which an instructor is employed.

Host Department – The Department, as listed by the Registrars’ Office, which is responsible for conducting/organizing the delivery of the course. The instructor may or may not be affiliated with the Host Department. Where the instructor teaching the course is not from the Host Department, the course should be included in the Host Department list of courses as determined by the DCVP and the instructor’s Home Department should be identified.

Instructor of Record - The instructor, as listed in the Banner File by the Registrar’s Office, who is the individual teaching a course.

Instructor/course Data File – a data file generated by the Banner Data that connects instructors with the courses they teach in a current term.

Internship, Fieldwork, Clinical Practice, Externship, Practicum, Clerkship - These terms are used in Faculty of Health Professions’ programs to describe practical professional educational experiences that are conducted in a non-university setting such as a health or social service agency. Some of these learning experiences will be evaluated on the BLUE System but others will be evaluated using departmental resources and/or by another electronic system.

Laboratory Instructors – Individuals who oversee/teach in the laboratories and may be a full-time employee or a student.
Last Drop Date – the last day that students can drop a course without penalty (provides a guide to when the student Banner files can be downloaded)

Last Class Date – the last day in a given term that students will attend classes (provides a guide to when students can access the BLUE site to perform course evaluations)
Non-host Department

Question Personalization Process (QP) – The process whereby an instructor or department head/designate can add personal questions in Part B (Department) and Part C (Instructor) for the purpose of acquiring information from students about a course or program.

‘Required’ File – A file that is required in order for BLUE to evaluate a class. BLUE is a relational database and therefore if one item (instructor, student, course) of one file is missing a course will not be evaluated. Blue contains 5 files in order to operate

Service Course – A course offered by a Host Department, but allows students from other departments/Faculties to register for the course. Normally an instructor from the Host Department will teach the course.

Scales/Anchors – The response category used in the quantitative sections of the Evaluation Form. For example, ‘very poor’, ‘poor’, ‘satisfactory’, ‘good’ and ‘excellent’

Score – The numerical value a student indicates in response to the quantitative questions on the Evaluation Form (Part A, B, or C).

Student/Course Data File – a data generated by the Banner Data that connects students with the courses for which they are registered in a current term.

Student Ratings of Instruction (SRI) – the process whereby Dalhousie evaluates teaching effectiveness.

Switched Off – This term refers to deleting a course from the Banner File during the DCVP. The result of Switching Off the course means that it will not be evaluated in the current term.

Switched On – This term refers to the process of adding a course to the course file on the BLUE System for the purpose of evaluating it in the current term.

Teaching Assistants (TA’s) – Individuals (students or others) employed by a department to teach or assist in the teaching of a course. Departments vary on the types of evaluation forms used and the method by which they evaluate TA’s. If a department wishes to have a course in which a TA is teaching evaluated on the BLUE System, the course and the TA’S name should be indicated during the DCVP.

Team Taught Courses – One course which is the responsibility of a Host Department that is being taught by more than one instructor who are not necessarily an employee of the Host Department. The Banner file may only list the Instructor of Record. The other instructors would be added during the DCVP.

Tutors – Individuals who are a member of the instructor team and may be full-time employees or a student.
Work Term - Career related work experience required in Co-operative Education programs. Work terms are usually 13-16 weeks in duration. They are not usually evaluated through the BLUE system.

XY Courses - These courses are year-long courses, as designated by the Registrars’ Office, which may or may not be taught by the same instructor in the fall and winter. If they are taught by different instructors they cannot be Switched Off from the Banner File during the DCVP in the Fall term.   

Guidelines to students on providing constructive feedback

Download guidlines [PDF - 100 kb]


Academic Resources

Assessing Teaching Effectiveness and Student Feedback

Aleamoni, L. M. (1990). Faculty Development Research in Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: The Challenge. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education 3:193-195

Braskamp, L. A. (2000). Toward a more holistic approach to assessing faculty as teachers. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 83(fall), 19-34.

Braskamp, L. A. & Ory, J. C. (1994). Assessing faculty work: Enhancing individual and institutional performance. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Cashin, W. (1995). Student Ratings of Teaching: The Research Revisited. Paper 32. The IDEA Center (Individual Development & Educational Assessment). URL:

Centra, J. A. (1993). Reflective faculty evaluation: Enhancing teaching and determining faculty effectiveness. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Diamond, R. M. (1999). Aligning faculty rewards with institutional mission: Statements, policies and guidelines. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Diamond, R. M. (2002). Serving on promotion, tenure and faculty review committees: A faculty guide (2nd ed.). Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company Inc.

Diamond, R. M. & Adam, B. E. (Eds.). (1995). The disciplines speak: Rewarding the scholarly, professional and creative work of faculty. Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education.

Felder, R. (1992). What do they know, anyway? Chemical Engineering Education, 26(3), 134–135. URL:

Feldman, K. A. (1989). The association between student ratings of specific instructional dimensions and student achievement: Refining and extending the synthesis of data form multisection validity studies. Research in Higher Education, 30, 583-645.

Feldman, K. A. (2007). Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching: Evidence from student ratings. In R. P Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 93-143). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Glassick, C. E., Huber, M. T. & Maeroff, G. I. (1997). Scholarship assessed: Evaluation of the professoriate. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc.

Huntley-Moore, S., & Panter, J. (2006). A practical manual for evaluating teaching in higher education. Dublin: AISHE.

Knapper, C. (2001). Broadening our approach to teaching evaluation. In C. Knapper, & P. Cranton, (Eds.). Fresh approaches to the evaluation of teaching (pp. 3-10). New Directions in Teaching and Learning, no. 88. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Knapper, C. & Wright, Alan W. (2001). Using portfolios to document good teaching: Premises, purposes, practices. Fresh approaches to the evaluation of teaching (pp. 19-29). New Directions in Teaching and Learning, no. 88. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Marsh, H. W. (2007). Students’ evaluation of university teaching: Dimensionality, reliability, validity, potential biases and usefulness. In R. P Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 319-384). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Marsh, H. W. (1987). Students’ evaluation of university teaching: Research findings, methodological issues, and directions for future research. International Journal of Educational Research, 11, 253–388.

McKeachie, W, J. (2007). Good teaching makes a difference – And we know what it is. In R. P Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 457-474). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Murray, H. G. (1980). Evaluating University Teaching: A Review of Research. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association.

Seldin, P. (1999). Changing practices in evaluating teaching: A practical guide to improved faculty performance and promotion/tenure decisions. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

Theall, M. (2007). The importance of developmental assessment. TLC’s Bi-weekly yip. Eastern Kentucky University. Accessed on May 15, 2008, at

Theall, M., & Franklin, J. (2001). Looking for Bias in All the wrong Places: A Search for Truth or a Witch Hunt in Student Ratings of Instruction? , In M.Theall, , P. C. Abrami, & Lisa A. Mets (Eds.)The Student Ratings Debate: Are They Valid? How Can We Best Use Them? pp. 45-56) New Directions For Institutional Research, no. 109 San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Umbach, P. D. (2007). Faculty cultures and college teaching. In R. P Perry & J. C. Smart (Eds). The scholarship of teaching and learning in higher education: An evidence-based perspective (pp. 263-317). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Developing Teaching Dossiers

Centre for Learning and Teaching Teaching Dossier Resources (includes a downloadable teaching dossier template)

University of Manitoba maintains a list of links on the teaching dossier:

York University's Centre for the Support of Teaching lists an excellent collection of print and online resources on the evaluation of teaching at:

Teaching Evaluation

Angelo, T.A. & Cross, P.K. 1993. Classroom Assessment Techniques (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Braskamp, L. and Ory, J. 1994. Assessing Faculty Work: Enhancing Individual and Institutional Performance. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cashin, W. 1996. Developing an Effective Faculty Evaluation System. Idea Paper No. 33. Kansas State University.

Centra, J. 1993. Reflective Faculty Evaluation: Enhancing Teaching and Determining Faculty Effectiveness. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Cornell University's Teaching Evaluation Handbook is a useful guide to best practices in evaluating teaching for tenure and promotion.

Davis, B.G. 1993. Tools for Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Glassick, Huber, & Maerfoll.1997. Scholarship Assessed: Evaluation of the Professoriate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Hoyt, D.P. and Pallett, W.H. 1999. Appraising Teaching Effectiveness: Beyond Student Ratings. Idea Paper #36. Manhattan, KS: IDEA Center.

Knapper, C. and Cranton, P. (Eds.) Fresh Approaches to the Evaluation of Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Vol. 88, Winter 2001.

Ryan, K. (Ed.) Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education: A Vision for the Future. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Vol. 83, Fall 2000.

What kind of teacher are you? 1994. Centre for Teaching Excellence, Iowa State University. Videotape, 14.5 minutes.


Student Ratings of Instruction: BLUE On-line Information Session

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