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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


How do I view my results?

All results, including results from paper SRTEs, are available at https://RateTeaching.psu.edu. Penn State authentication is required for access. If you are no longer a Penn State employee, you should contact your former academic unit. Staff in the unit may be able to download your reports.

How long does the University keep my SRTEs?

Your results are retained for 10 years in accordance with Policy AD35 University Archives and Records Management and its concurrent General Retention Schedule.

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How do I view multiple years of my results simultaneously?

Plans are underway to develop reports that will visually compare a range of semesters. Until that feature is available, you will need to print the results and compare them manually.

Who has access to my results?

As the instructor of record for a course, you automatically have access to your results. Access is also granted to your academic unit administrators. There may be other administrative personnel from your campus, college, or academic unit who also have access for administrative purposes. SRTE results for faculty who teach World Campus courses are sent to World Campus administrators. World Campus will share these results with the academic administrators in the academic unit that sponsors the faculty member.

How can I tell if SRTEs have been setup for my course?

After the offering period has started, visit https://RateTeaching.psu.edu/ to confirm that all courses you expect to be rated are listed. If a course does not appear on the list, it means that SRTE forms for those courses have not been assigned by staff in your academic unit. Contact that staff member or the SRTE Representative for your campus or college.

How can I monitor my response rates?

After the offering period has started, visit https://RateTeaching.psu.edu/. Your response rate will be displayed along with your course information. Some faculty members have found it useful to show students this page because it demonstrates that the response rate is the only thing you can see until after grades are released to students. You may also want to remind students that their responses are anonymous.

How do students access SRTEs?

Students access their SRTEs directly through the SRTE site at https://rateteaching.psu.edu/.

How do students know when to complete their SRTEs?

The SRTE system generates an email to students to announce the availability of their SRTEs. This message includes instructions on where to complete and how long they are available. Three additional email reminder messages are automatically sent to students who have outstanding forms to complete.

Is there a time limit for completing SRTEs?

For a course that runs the traditional fifteen-week semester, SRTEs are offered the last two weeks of classes. During this period, students may take as much time as needed to complete their SRTEs. They also have the option to start, save, and return to their SRTE in order to complete and submit it prior to the end of the offering period.

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What will motivate students to complete their SRTEs on their own?

Faculty are the most important determinant of student participation. Students are more likely to complete the SRTEs if they know that faculty value their feedback and use it to make improvements in the class. In general, it is good practice for faculty to communicate how they have incorporated past feedback into the course (e.g., included more teamwork, added visual examples, reordered topics).

How can I improve my student response rates?

To get at some of their secrets, we asked faculty with a 70% or greater response rate and at least 30 students in their classes to share advice on getting students to fill out the SRTEs. To read what they said, visit the Faculty Strategies for Encouraging Students to Complete Their SRTE page on the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence's web site.

You may also want to contact one of the Institute's instructional consultants to discuss other strategies for encouraging student feedback.

Will students who do not regularly attend be able to complete SRTEs for the course?

Yes. If the number of students not attending is sufficient to impact your scores; the feedback you get from those who do complete the SRTE may help you understand why they are not attending. Alternatively, students who lack the motivation to attend class are typically not motivated to complete the SRTEs.

May I award extra credit to individual students who provide proof of SRTE completion?

University Faculty Senate Policy 47-20, Basis for Grades, is clear that students' grades need to be based on scholastic achievement.

However, because extra credit can be a motivator, some academic units permit faculty to offer all students in a course (not just some students) the opportunity to earn extra credit by performing a course-related task if the course response rate reaches a certain point (e.g., 70%). This approach ensures that extra credit points are earned based on scholastic performance, not solely because a student submitted an SRTE. Some faculty provide the extra credit opportunity even if the set response rate is not achieved; students do not see the response rate for the course.

That said, not all faculty agree that this is appropriate. If an academic unit wants to consider the above option, we recommend that the unit faculty discuss it as a group. Some faculty members feel strongly that extra points should never be linked to SRTE completion because it makes the SRTEs required rather than voluntary and/or that students might misinterpret it as a request from faculty for positive ratings.

Faculty should be careful to inform students that they are interested in both positive and negative feedback and explain why higher response rates are more likely to reflect all students views.

Improving response rates does not always involve extra credit. Visit strategies for improving response rates to learn other strategies from Penn State Faculty.

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Why doesn't Penn State require students to participate by holding back their grades?

Penn State's SRTEs were designed by the Faculty Senate to be voluntary. Students receive their grades after the course and the default SRTE offering period have ended. By the time students would realize their grades have been withheld, they would not have an opportunity to change their mind about completing the SRTEs. Grades cannot be held back indefinitely.

Why doesn't Penn State make SRTEs public as an incentive for students to participate?

SRTE results are considered part of faculty members' personnel records so access is restricted.

When will reports be available for my review?

SRTE results are typically available within 5 business days of when all final grades for your course are recorded in LionPath. If grades have not been recorded, or the course is a no grade course, SRTEs will release based on the "hold for grade transcripts date" found on the Registrar's Activity Calendar. If your results are still not available after you have submitted your grades and/or the hold for grade transcripts date has passed, please check with your area's SRTE Representative to verify that SRTEs were offered for your course.

Can I tell which students did or didn't fill out their SRTE?

No. This is an anonymous survey so student information is separated from responses. Faculty report that they are receiving more extensive written feedback than when they used paper surveys. This may be because students are no longer concerned about being identified by their handwriting.

Is there a mobile-friendly version of the SRTE?

Students may choose to submit SRTEs using the mobile-friendly web version for phones and tablets. No app download is necessary, upon sign-in students will see this option when they have active SRTEs to complete. Students may find it convenient to respond to open-ended questions using the voice-recognition built into their mobile devices.

Screen shot of mobile icon from SRTE tool. 
Screen shot of Mobile SRTE icon.

When students choose the mobile option, they will see only one question at a time, rather than the entire SRTE form on their screens.

The regular web version SRTE is still available for students with laptops or without mobile devices.

Faculty will also be able to use the mobile version to check response rates for courses with active SRTEs. Those faculty who are concerned about response rates will be interested in taking advantage of this new functionality by asking students with mobile devices to complete their SRTEs during class.

Faculty: please remember that if you set aside class time for students to complete the SRTE, you need to leave the room.

What if I cannot assign an SRTE form to a course?

If no forms exist in the dropdown for the course, you will need to create a new form or copy an existing form. See the Creating Forms subsection of the Training Resources. Once a form is created, it may be used with other courses.

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