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tennessee technological university

Office of the Provost

IDEA Overview & Campus Policies

Individual Development and Educational Assessment (IDEA)
The IDEA Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve colleges and universities committed to improving learning, teaching, and leadership performance. The Center supports the evaluation and development of both programs and people. To stay on the cutting edge, The IDEA Center's experts constantly evaluate and reevaluate our services. Extensive data collection, research, and feedback from our clients have resulted in continuous enhancement of our services. The emphasis of The IDEA Center always remains on improving teaching, learning, and the higher education process.

The IDEA Student Ratings System originated at Kansas State University during the 1968-69 school year. Its emphasis was unique, as it provided constructive feedback aimed at improving the quality of instruction and student learning.

During the next seven years, the system was perfected and refined to assist in the improvement of instruction at Kansas State University. With help from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, The IDEA Center was established in 1975 and the IDEA Student Ratings system was made available to other colleges and universities. Since that time, other systems have been added to assist institutions in the assessment and improvement of administrator performance.

On the TTU campus, IDEA evaluations are conducted during the last two weeks of regular classes, excluding summer semesters. If classes are solely taught online, University Assessment offers an online survey opportunity to evaluate online courses and programs.

Results from the IDEA Faculty Evaluations are used to improve teaching, gauge student progress on relevant objectives chosen by the specific course instructor, and for faculty tenure and promotion evaluations (See campus policy excerpted Faculty Handbook).

Evaluation of Instruction

Required IDEA Evaluations


  • Full-time temporary, and part-time faculty, as well as teaching assistants with grading responsibility for courses, will have all their courses evaluated every semester (summer courses excluded). The results of these evaluations will be reviewed by the chairperson and dean or director in connection with personnel actions.


  • Must submit at least two IDEA evaluations a year (one from an introductory course and one from an upper-division course, when possible) to their dept. chairperson or director. Faculty who teach fewer than four courses per year need submit only one evaluation. Faculty may choose which one(s) to submit and may submit more than minimum requirement.)
  • Tenured faculty seeking promotion must evaluate all classes for at least one semester each year for each of the previous four years or from initial appointment, whichever is the shorter period.
  • Tenured faculty seeking promotion must evaluate all classes for at least one semester each year for each of the previous four years or from initial appointment, whichever is the shorter period.


See the PDFs and links below for IDEA information and materials.

Interpreting IDEA Evaluation Results

Overall Progress on Relevant Objectives
The Overall Progress on Relevant Objectives is the single most important score for summative evaluation purposes. Always look at the adjusted score since this score compensates for class size and student motivation to take the course. This score (national mean = 50) represents student's perceptions of progress on the weighted average of objectives that the instructor has identified as essential (weighted double) and important on the faculty information form for that course. It is the single best measure of teaching effectiveness. It is also the only measure that we provide local comparison norms for at TTU.

Please keep in mind that it is not appropriate to use these scores to make fine discriminations. They are most useful for identifying the extremes in teaching effectiveness. Furthermore, because of the variations in students performing the evaluations, it is best to look at averages or trends in evaluation performance across classes and across time.

Since the IDEA form allows instructors to select the learning objectives that are most appropriate for each course, it is important for instructors to carefully consider their selection of course objectives. Instructors who select inappropriate objectives may unintentionally lower their evaluation score. The choice of appropriate objectives may be guided by the following criteria:

  • Is the objective a significant part of the course?
  • Does the course help students accomplish this objective?
  • Does the student's progress on this objective affect his/her grade?


Links to IDEA Center & TTU Assessment Data

For more information about IDEA evaluations, please contact:

Dr. Theresa R. Ennis

Director of University Assessment
Tennessee Tech University

Phone: 931-372-6124

Office: Derryberr (DBRY)
TTU PO Box 5136

Cookeville, TN 38505

Lorraine McCracken

Academic Affairs Coordinator

Tennessee Tech University

Phone: 931-372-3463

Office: Derryberry (DBRY)
TTU PO Box 5017

Cookeville, TN 38505

Amy McCoy
Administrative Associate 3
Tennessee Technological University
Phone: 931-372-6146
Office: Derryberry (DBRY)
PO Box 5136
Cookeville, TN 38505