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Research and Statistical Support - University of North Texas

RSS Matters

Link to the last RSS article here: Using Report in SPSS 11.5, Part 1 of 2  Part 2 will be published next month. -- Ed.

Out With the Old, In With the New…Format!: UNT’s New Faculty Evaluation Reports

By Patrick McLeod, Research and Statistical Support Services Consultant

After 20-plus years of providing faculty from across the UNT community with feedback on student evaluations, the program that calculated faculty evaluations was retired at the beginning of this semester with the decommissioning of the UNT’s academic mainframe.

Academic Computing Services’ Data Entry offices and Research and Statistical Support offices have combined to produce a new processing platform for the UNT community’s faculty evaluations. From now on, faculty evaluations will be processed on desktop computers using customizable syntax from the SPSS statistical package.

As with any change, there are benefits and drawbacks to this necessary evolution. On the benefits side, the most compelling benefit in this transition is that departments can now customize their evaluations to any level or measurement and modeling that SPSS syntax can handle. Departments can remain with the standard reporting of means, standard deviations, frequencies, and percentages, or they can utilize their own descriptive reporting and/or in-house models.

On the drawbacks side, the major drawback is that after 20-plus years of seeing a consistently formatted report semester by semester, the format of the faculty evaluations will change. SPSS simply cannot accurately replicate the format of the now-retired mainframe output.

While this will be a rude shock to some, there is nothing to fear! The content of your reports will not change, unless you elect to develop a different reporting system, and this brief article will hopefully provide the UNT community with some advanced notice on how to read the output from the new faculty evaluation reports.

Going Vertical

In football, those who are devotees of a pass-intensive offense will often refer to such a strategy as “going vertical.” The passing game was not enthusiastically embraced in the early days of football. It took some getting used to, it took some time for players, coaches, and fans to see the beauty and utility in incorporating the forward pass into offenses as regular plays versus the occasional gimmick. Well, just as the forward pass revolutionized the game of football as we know it in the United States after some initial qualms, our new faculty evaluations will hopefully better meet the needs of the UNT community through the same change in format.

The most obvious difference in the new faculty evaluations and the older evaluations is in the presentation. The new evaluations are printed on regular 8.5x11 paper on a standard laser printer. Also changed is the layout of the report. Instead of a landscape-printed rectangle of results, SPSS prints question summaries in a single table (with means and standard deviations for questions) and then prints individual question summaries in single tables (with frequency and percent scores.) Below are two examples:

First, we have the first part of a sample question summary table:

       Statistics(a)

 

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q5

Q6

Q7

Q8

Q9

Q10

N

Valid

14

14

13

14

14

13

14

14

13

14

  

Missing

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

0

1

0

Mean

4.79

4.79

4.77

4.86

4.57

4.85

4.64

4.79

4.69

4.79

Std. Deviation

.579

.579

.599

.535

.756

.376

.745

.579

.630

.579

a  INST = , SECTION =

This table reports question means, standard deviations, and the number of valid versus missing responses per question. These were previously found on the left-hand side of the older faculty evaluation output.

Second, we have a sample specific question table:

                   Q1(a) 

 

Frequency

Percent

Valid Percent

Cumulative Percent

Valid

3

1

7.1

7.1

7.1

  

4

1

7.1

7.1

14.3

  

5

12

85.7

85.7

100.0

  

Total

14

100.0

100.0

 

a  INST = , SECTION =

In this table, we see both the frequency and percent scores by valid response category for question 1(a). Not only does this SPSS format report the information found in the older tables but also reports valid percents (useful if you have a lot of missing data) and cumulative percents, a bit of information that can serve as a primitive trend or cluster indicator.

Conclusion

In conclusion, all of us in Academic Computing Services hope that you will find the new faculty evaluations to be both a robust replacement for the old faculty evaluations and a good foundation to begin any customization your department might desire on this new platform.