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SIR II Score Data

The SIR II survey yields an unparalleled amount of data that allows greater flexibility in evaluating teaching effectiveness and course outcomes.

Survey reports for e-SIR and SIR II Online are available online immediately after each course survey has been closed. Reports for paper-and-pencil administrations are mailed 15 business days after ETS receives the completed surveys for processing.

Data is provided on eight dimensions of college instruction:

  • Course organization and planning
  • Faculty communication
  • Faculty-student interaction
  • Assignments, exams and grading
  • Instructional methods and materials
  • Course outcomes
  • Student effort and involvement
  • Course difficulty, workload and pace

In addition to an overall score, SIR II and e-SIR survey data includes the following:

  • Means for individual survey items and scale scores (i.e., the numerical average for all respondents)
  • Percentage of students who selected each item response choice
  • Scale mean for the relevant comparison group of colleges. Comparison groups include:
    • two-year colleges
    • four-year colleges (including master's degree programs)
    • doctoral-granting universities

ETS also provides comparative data so that you can compare your institution's scores to those of your peers nationwide. These data, as well as a variety of SIR II research reports, can help identify areas of strength and opportunities for curriculum improvement.

SIR II Data Reliability

For distance-learning courses, class sizes are generally smaller and more homogeneous than traditional courses. Reliability estimates for the SIR II survey for distance learning courses (the e-SIR version) will improve if a very high proportion (75 percent or more) of the students respond.

The reliability of SIR II and e-SIR survey data depends on the number of participating students. Reliability is a measure of the degree of consistency among student respondents. Higher numbers of respondents help reduce the effects of a few divergent responses and increase reliability.

Institutions should use extra caution when interpreting the results when fewer than 10 students or less than 60 percent of the class respond. In addition, item means are not reported if 50 percent or more of the students either omit an item or mark it not applicable. Class reports will not be produced when there are less than five respondents to the survey.

How Course Characteristics Affect Course Ratings

Some course characteristics affect ratings and should be considered when interpreting the data:

  • Small classes (i.e., fewer than 15 students) often receive more favorable ratings than larger classes, probably because they tend to provide a more effective learning environment (see comparative data).
  • Basic courses required by the college tend to receive somewhat lower ratings than courses within a student's major, minor or elective courses.
  • Ratings may differ across the various subject fields of a course, with humanities courses generally receiving higher ratings and natural science/mathematics courses receiving lower ratings. The comparative data booklets can be used to reference score information for more than 70 different subject fields.
  • Gender influences (either instructor or student gender) on SIR II survey ratings by students are typically fairly small. Read SIR II research on how gender bias may affect survey results.
  • Expectations of course grades do not affect student ratings, contrary to what many instructors believe.
  • Other variables that show minimal differences in the comparative data include ratings according to faculty status (part-time vs. full-time) and course type (lecture vs. lecture-discussion).

For more information about rating influencers, visit the Research section of this website.

For information about using SIR II survey data in instructor and program evaluation, view Score Usage.