Instructor Course Evaluation (ICE)

Student evaluation of teaching at Saint Mary's is the full responsibility of the Senate and is administered by the Office of Institutional Data Analysis and Planning (IDAP). During the evaluation cycle each term, IDAP communicates with faculty, and prepares the evaluation process. The Software Applications Support unit collaborates with IDAP to initiate the online evaluation process, collecting and acting as a repository for the data collected.

The IDAP and the Software Applications Support (SAS) unit provide support to faculty related to ICE through this website, and in other ways requested by faculty relating to the developmental/formative aspects of the ICE system.

The data from the evaluation process is received on an ITSS server where the data is compiled into ICE Reports, and circulated back to faculty.

What is ICE?

The Instructor/Course Evaluation system is designed to provide faculty with student feedback on teaching. Its underlying philosophy is formative (developmental) – the primary function is intended to provide feedback from students that identify teaching practices that contribute to student learning and aid in the further development of those practices. This feedback contributes to teaching quality when it is used by faculty as an opportunity for self-reflection.

The ICE instrument is based on the Student's Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ) developed by Dr. Herbert Marsh, University of Western Australia (currently at Oxford University), and is used in classrooms worldwide. It is a form used to obtain student feedback on teaching for both formative and summative purposes.

When to Use it

At the end of each term, Institutional Data Analysis and Planning (IDAP) and the Software Applications Support Unit (SAS) will initiate the evaluation process for every course being offered in that semester based on information provided by the Registrar's Office (Banner). .

Dates for Evaluation Week are posted on the Senate  website. Faculty, who intend to evaluate their course(s), should do so within the dates provided.

Why Use ICE?

  • ICE is an easy way to get feedback on your teaching.
  • It is based on an instrument (SEEQ) developed from years of research on teaching in higher education, and recognized in the research literature for the validity and reliability of the data generated from it.
  • It provides formative information which can be used by faculty to reflect on and improve teaching.
  • It provides summative information which can be included in documents (Annual Report, Teaching Dossier) developed by faculty to apply for tenure, promotion or review.
  • The process developed at Saint Mary's guarantees confidentiality of the data collected.
  • Use of ICE each semester increases student involvement in the process.

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ICE Process

Instructor’s Self Rating Form (doc)

This form is based on the student form, however the questions are reframed as reflective statements to be considered by faculty in relation to the course being evaluated. It is useful to begin by reflecting on how you expected students will respond to the questions. This form is purely for your use, and you can compare your with the student data/report. It is helpful to download and complete a Self-Rating Form for each course prior to viewing the final reports generated from the student evaluations.

Student Form (pdf)

The ICE form is a double sided, pre-printed, bubble sheet containing:

  • 29 closed response questions related to eight functional areas of teaching. These areas – learning, individual rapport, enthusiasm, examinations, organization, breadth, group interaction and assignments – have been recognized in the research literature as time-tested, recognized functions of good teaching which contribute to student learning,
  • 2 overall (global) questions,
  • 9 questions related to course characteristics and student data,
  • 12 supplemental questions (optional), and
  • 2 open ended questions

Faculty should allow approximately 15 minutes of class time for students to complete the evaluation process.

Supplemental Questions/Data Bank

The ICE system at Saint Mary's recognizes that not all teaching modes are covered by the 29 core questions. Teaching has changed in recent years with the introduction of technology in the classroom and with increased emphasis on pedagogical innovations such as service learning, cooperative education, etc. The Supplemental Questions option provides an opportunity to add twelve questions customized to your particular evaluation needs.

You can write your own ‘supplemental questions', or select questions from the Data Bank to download into the Supplemental Questions Template.

To use the Supplemental Questions option, bring the completed template to class as a PowerPoint slide and display for the class before the evaluation process begins. Instructors should ensure that an electronic copy of their Supplemental Questions template is sent to SAS on the day the class evaluations are done.

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Administering ICE

  • The Senate Office section provides dates for Evaluation Week for the current academic year.
  • Instructors should allow 15 minutes of class time for administration of the ICE.
  • It is not possible to alter any of the individual items on the ICE form.
  • Instructors may develop a Supplemental Questions sheet and either write their own supplemental questions or select them from categories/questions provided in the Data Bank.
  • Instructors should identify a student to be the Student Evaluation Administrator prior to evaluation day
  • After the instructor has left the classroom, the Student Evaluation Administrator will read the Statement of Purpose and Procedures to students 
  • Research on student evaluations suggest that they are quite reliable when based on the responses of ten or more students. Ratings based on fewer than ten student responses should be interpreted carefully.

Directions for Administering


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ICE Forms & Reports

Annual Summaries:

All reports generated each term are kept electronically on a server maintained by ITSS.

Open-Ended Questions

In the ICE electronic report provided to individual faculty, student responses to open-ended questions will be provided in a separate Supplemental Report. These reports will be circulated after all grades for the term have been submitted to the Registrar's Office.

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Interpreting ICE

The ICE system at Saint Mary's is used for both formative and summative evaluation purposes.

Formative Evaluation

The primary role of the ICE system is to provide data that can be used by faculty to make improvements in teaching. Improvements might eventually affect tenure and promotion decisions, but the primary intent in formative evaluation is faculty development. For this reason, the data generated by ICE on the Instructor's Report will be seen by individual faculty only and will allow instructors the opportunity to review student data and open-ended comments, compare this with their own self-rating for the course, and interpret the data in an attempt to understand the feedback given by students, and how that feedback could inform individual teaching improvement.

Summative Evaluation

Based on recommendations in research literature, the ICE system at Saint Mary's provides academic administrators the results of the two overall or global questions only for summative decision making purposes on both the Summative Report and the Annual Summary.

Reflecting on Student Feedback – A Developmental Framework

To help instructors reflect on the feedback provided by students, the following framework is recommended.

  1. Download and complete the Self-Rating Form
    Think about what happened in this course this term? Was the class a positive experience for you? For students? Why? Did things go as planned? Why not? What will students say about the course, about their learning experience?
  2. Analyze the Student Data section of the Instructor's Report
    What special or unique features are there in regard to the subject, the students or other contextual factors?
  3. Analyze the Instructor's Report.
    What are the main strengths of your teaching? What are the main weaknesses? Do these findings differ from your Self-Rating Survey responses? How?
  4. Analyze Students' Comments to the Open-Ended Questions
    The original ICE forms completed by students will be returned to instructors because they contain student responses to the open-ended questions, as they were written. You might wish to record them in a Word document or Excel file for future reference. Read through all comments carefully and categorize them in order to identify common themes. Students often use this opportunity to include comments on teaching methods, learning activities or assessment items that worked well for them in other courses - use this information to your advantage. What characteristics of instructor/course did students find most valuable to their learning? What characteristics of instructor/course did students suggest needed improvement? How do the comments compare to the ratings on the Instructor's Report? On your Self-rating survey?
  5. Select Key Areas for Improvement
    Which are the one or two areas that received the lowest ratings? Check the Instructor's Report for specific responses and the open-ended comments to supplement information. What strategies for improvement could you use that would be appropriate to your particular situation?
  6. Take Some Follow-Up Actions
    After reflecting on the responses to the above questions, consider referring to the Targeted Teaching Strategies booklets or other resource materials held in the Studio to help increase your knowledge. Engage in further reflective practice by conducting some form of classroom-based research into different teaching and learning approaches and techniques, such as asking your students about their needs, their perceptions of teaching and learning, or what constitutes successful practice in the classroom. Invite a colleague to act as a mentor, to review your Instructor's Report and students' comments and to discuss possible strategies for achieving improvement. Ask for a meeting with the Director, Studio or Instructional Development Associate, to discuss your students' feedback and strategies for improvement. A colleague or the Studio need not have expertise in your subject area or even know what is "best". Their role can be that of facilitator, discussing the feedback with you and helping you to think of some strategies in areas you have identified for development.
  7. Closing the Loop
    Through the evaluation process, students have provided important feedback to help you identify your teaching strengths and areas for improvement. To acknowledge their part in the I/CE process, you could tell students in a following course or students enrolled in the same course when it is running again, about the changes you have made based on the feedback/comments from previous students. By doing this, students will feel that their opinions are valued and they have made constructive input into how they are being taught. Keep a record of what you have learned, how you have responded to student feedback – and use this information to develop your Annual Report and, over a longer period of time, your Teaching Dossier.

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ICE Tips

In developing the Student Evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ) instrument, Dr. Herbert Marsh also wrote a series of instructional development booklets related to each of the key factors of the SEEQ – the same key factors which comprise Saint Mary's ICE form.

In more recent years, the teaching strategies booklets were reviewed and revised for the Canadian context by Dr. Beverley Cameron, University of Manitoba. They are reproduced here with the permission of Dr. Marsh and Dr. Cameron.

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