WHAT IS ESCI?
ESCI (Evaluation System for Courses and Instruction) is a service administered by Instructional Development that processes and reports the results of student ratings of courses for the vast majority of Faculty Instructors, Teaching Associates and Teaching Assistants. This service is available both to individual UCSB faculty members and to entire departments. The ESCI system offers the choice of:
- using a standard departmental questionnaire (if one is currently in use); OR
- an ESCI standard faculty or TA questionnaire; OR
- designing a questionnaire composed of questions:
- selected from an
Item Pool(supplied): OR
- supplied by the instructor/ department; OR
- developed with assistance from Instructional Development; OR
- selected from an
- any combination of the above
A maximum of 42 questions with up to 5 response categories each can be used. Response categories need not be standard; Every question on a survey can have different response categories. Open-ended questions which solicit student comments can easily be included.
The main objective of ESCI is to make the process of gathering and summarizing student course ratings both as flexible and as uncomplicated as possible. ESCI exists to help instructors and departments tailor their questionnaires to suit their unique needs while at the same time relieving them of most of the overhead of processing such individualized instruments.
Note that even though the term "evaluation" was originally included in the name of the service at its creation in the 1970s, the ESCI system itself does not make evaluative judgments -- it simply reports the collective opinions of the students surveyed. ESCI provides one kind of information (student ratings) as one of many possible sources of information, so that the highest quality evidence possible can inform judgments about the quality of courses, instruction, curricula and programs.
NATURE OF THE ITEM POOL
To help clients design appropriate survey questions, an "Item Pool" of questions used throughout the campus is available. The questions or items are divided into general aspects of course ratings such as course goals and objectives, class discussion, lecture, important course outcomes, assignments and workload. Neither the items nor the list of "aspects" are considered to be exhaustive. ESCI's flexibility assures that items may be incorporated, modified or deleted as necessary.
DEPARTMENTAL VS. INDIVIDUAL SURVEY FORMS
The system may be used by individual instructors or by entire departments. Departments have the option of selecting one or more standard sets of questions which would be available to all members of the department. Instructors, then, would have the option of augmenting those forms with items they select, particular to specific courses and/or their own unique concerns. Thus, any course survey could contain both kinds of items.
COURSE VS. CURRICULAR SURVEY QUESTIONS
While most departments currently choose to use a set of department-specific questions on surveys in every course, some are finding it very useful to include questions about curricular-level issues in surveys used in selected courses. Such information can be very important in judging the effectiveness and impact of an academic curriculum. For assistance in developing or learning more about the flexible use of the ESCI system for departmental level information needs, contact a consultant at x-2972.
A useful feature of ESCI is its norming capability. For each user, departmental and campus norms are available for every item selected. Norms are calculated both for the current quarter and over time, meaning the most recent five year period. They are calculated separately for faculty, associates, and teaching assistants. Thus, for a particular item, an instructor would have information not only on the performance of her own class but also on average current and long-term departmental results, as well as overall long-term campus-wide results.
HOW AND WHEN TO REQUEST SERVICES
At the beginning of each quarter, reservation forms are sent to all departments requesting identification of courses which will be evaluated for the current quarter. At that time departments also indicate which survey will be administered to each of the courses requested.Individual instructors may request the use of their own custom survey. More information is found in the attachment below
Most faculty members submit their requests through the ESCI Contact Person in their department. Click here to send an email inquiry to the ESCI Assistant to find out who your department ESCI Contact currently is.
If you are interested in developing a custom survey, ESCI staff are happy to help. The process need not be long or grueling, but we strongly recommend that you contact ESCI as soon as you begin considering the idea, so that we can help you create the most satisfactory instrument possible.
HOW IT WORKS
A department or an individual instructor tells us which courses will be rated for the current quarter. We then use this information to "preprogram" the computer to expect results for specific questions for every course. Response sheets along with the survey are distributed to students by the department. Student comments are generally written on the survey questionnaires themselves, not on the scannable response sheets, or on separate sheets of paper and returned to the department. The completed response sheets are returned to us for processing into summary statistics. Two copies of these statistical reports are generated; one for individual instructors, and one for department records.
WHO TO CONTACT
Any questions concerning the ESCI system - or teaching and course assessment generally - may be directed to Instructional Development: Aisha Wedlaw (x4278 or firstname.lastname@example.org), Mary Lou Ramos (x3523 or email@example.com), or Lisa Berry (x8395 or firstname.lastname@example.org).