SPTE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


SPTEs have been retired beginning the Summer 2023.  The information below is still available for those who used SPTEs prior to SU23 and are searching for information. 


What does the SPTE instrument look like? What questions are on it?

Information concerning the layout of the SPTE can be found in the SPTE Technical Guide. If you would like a copy of the SPTE Instrument that the students fill out, please contact us.

When and how do I receive my SPTE Results?

You should receive them within 2 weeks after finals (please note that for the fall semesters this does not include the days WSU is closed). This means that departments should receive their results by the end of the second week in January for the fall semesters and for the spring by the end of the first week in June. However, this time frame does not apply for the summer semesters, since we can process them much quicker because there are not as many.

Your SPTE packet will be mailed to your department. Your department will then give you your packet. Inside the packet will be a printout of the results from the evaluation and the comments from the students.

Please note your department may have their own policy on SPTE Results. Make sure you are aware of their policy.

How do I interpret my results?

Identifying Information

At the top of the front page, you will find the SPTE title with the semester your results were processed. You will then find your department followed by your college. Be sure your department is correct. It determines the norm base used for your scores. If it is not correct, notify us immediately (978-3384). This is followed by your assigned ID number, course number, your college or division and your CRN. The next few lines contain the number of students from your class who filled out the SPTE, as well as the number of sections on which your profile is based.

The Profiles and their Corresponding Norm Bases

Usually, there will be two profiles on the first page of your SPTE results. The first profile compares your SPTE scores with the scores of everyone at your university who has used SPTE (at this time, one semester's data). The second profile compares you with your college norms. For WSU Liberal Arts and Sciences instructors and PSU Arts and Sciences instructors, the second profile is based on division norms. The college/division norms are also based only on this semester's data, and as mentioned on the first page, you may not have a college/division profile due to an inadequate norm base. We update both norms each semester.

Notes about the Scales

There are two sections to each profile: (a) the OVERALL EVALUATION along with the four scales of which it is a weighted combination (Rapport with Students, Course Value, Course Design, and Fairness of Grading); and (b) COURSE DEMANDS with its two scales (Difficulty, and Workload). The Overall Evaluation along with its associated scales may be considered measures of perceived quality, while Course Demands and its associated scales are measures of perceived course demands.

Your percentile score for each scale can be found at the top and bottom of each profile.

The SCALE Scores

Under each profile, you will find a column labeled "SCALE." The values in this column are your SCALE scores for each of the eight scales. A SCALE score is a one to ten scale with a mean of 5.5 and a standard deviation of 2. Almost everyone (99%) will fall between one and ten. Depending upon the scale, a high score indicates either a desirable score or that the instructor placed high demands upon students.

The Relationship Between the Overall Evaluation and Course Demands

We have computed the correlation coefficient between Overall Evaluation and Course Demands. The correlation was not significant. In fact, it was essentially zero (r=.04). Thus Course Demands and its associated scales should NOT be considered quality indicators.

Item Summary

On the second page of your results, you will find a summary of your scores on each item. The items are organized according to the scale (factor) to which they are related. On the far right is your raw score (Score) for that particular item; this is the mean of all your students who completed that item on the SPTE (with a 1-5 range). Next is your SCALE score (described above) for each item followed by a "plot" of your SCALE score. The SCALE scores are based upon your college or division norms when possible, and the all-university norms if no college or division norms are available. (NOTE: Items have been rescaled so that a high score always means either "socially desirable" or "difficult.")

Bias Correction

All scores (scale and item SCALES) are corrected for two sources of bias: (a) number of raters (roughly your class size) and (b) a priori student motivation. This correction results in NO correlation between the SPTE Scales/Items and either the number of raters or our measure of student motivation.

For more information, click on Interpretation Guide or the Technical Guide

Are there documents regarding the results?

To access the various documents regarding SPTE Results, click Results.

What do I use for Tenure & Promotion, Salary Evaluation, etc.?

We believe strongly that SPTE or any other measure of students perceptions of teaching effectiveness should not be the ONLY data used for teaching evaluation. While student perceptions of teaching quality should play a significant role in teaching evaluation, the use of other data such as course materials, peer evaluation, syllabi, graded exams and papers, etc. is essential.

When using SPTE for evaluation, it is our opinion that the first page of your results (the profiles) is appropriate for such purposes. The second page (the item summary) IS NOT appropriate for Tenure - Promotion or Salary decisions. Items have less stability, less variance and are more susceptible to chance variation. The item summary is intended only for your formative use.

Is there more information on how the results are compiled?

Yes, more information is found in the Technical Guide.

My students have to take this class, will my results be low?

Previous research demonstrates that students who have low motivation to take a course will consequently report poorer evaluations of instructors of those courses. Therefore, SPTE results are corrected for student motivation. The SPTE motivation scale is measured during SPTE administration (later in the semester). We have wondered how accurate students are in reporting their a priori motivation (their motivation to take the course before registering for the course) after considerable exposure to the course and instructor. So during the Fall 1996 and Spring 1997 semesters, 193 sections administered motivation assessments to 5,154 students on the first day of classes (our "true" a priori motivation measure). We are now comparing this to the SPTE motivation measure. Data analysis of the combined semesters has not yet been completed, but preliminary analysis indicates that the correlation between the a priori and SPTE motivation scales is .85. Apparently it does not matter how late in the semester student motivation is measured.

Instructors may be interested in the data we collected on the amount of information students hear about classes and instructors before they take the class. According to our data, 47% of students reported hearing no word of mouth@ information about the course and 64% reported hearing nothing about the instructor. Less than 1% of students reported hearing a great deal about the course, while 11% reported hearing a great deal about the instructor. For students who reported hearing anything about the class or instructor, 86% reported hearing neutral-to-favorable information about the course, while 90% reported hearing neutral-to-favorable information about the instructor. Apparently our students do not bad-mouth instructors as much as some suspect. Only 25% of students who had heard information about a course (22% for those reporting hearing information about the instructor) reported that the information had an impact on their decision to take that course. We speculate that these percentages are particularly low at Wichita State University because of the high percentage of students who commute to school and presumably have relatively little communication with other students.

My class is a difficult class, will my results be low?

Not necessarily. We have computed the correlation coefficient between Overall Evaluation and Course Demands. The correlation was not significant. In fact, it was essentially zero (r=.04). Thus Course Demands and its associated scales should NOT be considered quality indicators.

My class is large, will my results be affected?

If left uncorrected, class size can affect student ratings (it is modestly correlated with the ratings students give their instructors). Instructors with larger classes tend to get lower ratings by their students. Instructors with smaller classes tend to get higher ratings.

To deal with this, (since class size is rarely in the control of the instructor), all SPTE results are corrected for class size using the number of raters as an approximate measure of the class size. In other words, when you receive your SPTE results, they are completely unrelated to the number of people in your class who completed the SPTE.

On another note, if less than four students had been able to complete the SPTE, you will not receive SPTE results. In order to protect the anonymity of the students as much as possible, we do not generate SPTE results for less than four raters.

My class is small can I be evaluated?

SPTE results are not generated for classes that have fewer than 4 raters. This was done primarily to protect student anonymity. Also, the class means are not as meaningful for small classes and not a good representative of large class perception if only 3 people fill out the SPTE. The cutoff of 4 raters was chosen because it seemed like a good number to help with student anonymity.

Do you take for granted that students are going to take evaluation seriously?

No, we do not take for granted that students are not taking the evaluation seriously. Therefore, we have two items on the SPTE instrument to check for random marking. If a student misses either of these 2 check points, that evaluation is removed.

The number of raters posted on my results were less than the number of students present on administration day. Why?

The lower number may be for a couple of reasons. Students may have chosen not to fill out an evaluation. They may have used ink to
fill out the form instead of pencil. Lastly, they may have missed filling out the form properly. (see FAQ above)

Why were there less comment sheets than raters?

There typically is not a 1 to 1 ratio between number of student raters and comments. You may have students who choose not to leave

I lost my original printed results, is it possible to obtain another copy?

Yes. You will need to email Sandra Ranney with the following information:

• Instructor’s name and contact information (email address and/or phone number)
• CRN and course number
• Semester and year of requested course

It may take several days, possibly longer if requests are received during peak time; please be patient and we will contact you as soon as we can.