IDEA Student Rating of Instruction

What is IDEA?

The IDEA (Individual Development and Educational Assessment) survey is a tool that allows students to rate their learning experience in your classroom (online, hybrid or face-to-face). Keep in mind that while student feedback is important, the IDEA instrument cannot provide all information needed to evaluate and improve instruction. Teaching is a complex art. There is no unique "ideal" teacher or "model" approach. Thus, evaluation of teaching ought to be multifaceted, with student ratings and comments illuminating only part of the total picture.

The IDEA survey invites students to respond to items that ask them about the learning methods they experienced, how much they believe they've learned, how hard they worked and how much they wanted to take the class. The results of your course survey can help you answer questions about

  • Teaching effectiveness—Did your design or plan for this course work?
  • Student-reported progress on instructor–chosen course objectives—Did your students think they were learning what you intended to teach?
  • Teaching methods—Did you use methods that supported your goals?

You can see the 18 IDEA Learning Essentials (formerly known as the short form) items or the 40 Diagnostic Feedback items at the IDEA Center website.

For answers to more detailed questions about the IDEA student ratings of instruction at Champlain College, visit the page IDEA FAQs.

Why do we use the IDEA survey?

The results you receive from the IDEA survey can provide you, your program director or chair and your Dean with insights into what your students perceived as their learning experience. The IDEA results are designed as a diagnostic and formative tool to help you improve or maintain strengths in your teaching practice. Data from the IDEA results contribute in part to your performance evaluation as a member of the Champlain College faculty. Remember that your interpretation of the IDEA results and the classroom experience are vital to any evaluation process. For help interpreting IDEA results contact Rebecca Mills, Director of instructional Practice, or Ellen Zeman, Learning Assessment Director.

How do I administer the IDEA survey?

On-campus courses:

Students are required to take the IDEA survey in class during a two-week period that falls at about weeks 12-13 in a 15-week semester. Students will need to have access to a computer in order to take the survey in your classroom. (You can ask students to bring their own device and/or borrow a laptop cart or Chromebook pack if you are not teaching in a computer lab.) You will read or improvise on the in-class instructions, share the IDEA-Campus Labs evaluation url ( with your students and ask them to take the survey during the first 20 minutes of a class period that falls within the two-week period. See these instructions for details on how to plan ahead for online administration of the IDEA survey in a the classroom.

For step-by-step instructions on in-classroom, online administration of the IDEA survey, read this document.

CPS Online Undergraduate & Graduate courses:

CPS students are required to take the IDEA survey on their own during a one-to-two-week period that falls at the end of the semester. Students will be notified of the availability of the survey through automated email reminders generated by the IDEA system, and they will have access to the survey through a module built into your Canvas course by eLearning. In addition to the IDEA survey link (, the module includes a "quiz" that students can take which indicates that they have completed the survey. Students receive a 1% grade increase through the Canvas gradebook upon completion of the quiz. Please encourage your students to participate. A high level of participation will ensure that the results you receive are useful and meaningful to you.

What do we do with the IDEA survey results?

IDEA surveys are compiled and processed by Campus Labs (Buffalo, NY) through formative feedback algorithms designed by the IDEA Center (Manhattan, KS) soon after completion of the survey period. Within one to two weeks after the end of the survey period (after grades are posted) your report(s) will be available to you through the IDEA-CL Faculty Portal. Remember that your interpretation of the IDEA results and classroom experience are vital to any evaluation or goal-setting process.

For help interpreting IDEA results, contact your Dean or Program Director. For more in-depth interpretation or action planning, contact Rebecca Mills, Director for Instructional Practice in the Center for Learning and Teaching or Ellen Zeman, Learning Assessment Director.

The IDEA Center and the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education (POD) offer a wealth of research-based resources:

The College also receives raw survey data and aggregated survey data (item averages for each course section), which are analyzed by an Academic Affairs research analyst. These data do not contain student identifiers. Analyzed results are used to calculate institutional benchmarks of academic excellence and to inform (in small part) Deans and the Provost in determining how best to support teaching and learning.

The IDEA Center produces summary data reports for the College: one for each Division, for CPS, for each study-abroad campus, for graduate studies and for traditional undergraduate studies. These reports provide a wealth of information on students' perception of their learning progress. If you would like a copy of any group summary report, ask the IDEA on-campus coordinator (Ellen Zeman) or your division's Operations Manager.

Helpful links: