CATS Student Survey

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Description and Rationale:

CATS (Course and Teaching Survey) provides students with a survey that defines and measures teaching effectiveness based on Wilmington University’s mission, educational values, and the teaching techniques associated with addressing the learning needs of our student population. 

CATS asks students to provide feedback on teaching behaviors known to engage the adult learner, provide individual attention to students in a learner-centered manner, provide career-relevant learning opportunities and to organize and schedule course content to enhance learning in accelerated course formats. 

CATS student feedback provides faculty with suggested actions that they can take on the Pathways to Instructional Excellence professional development program to continuously sharpen their instructional skills and techniques. 

CATS is administered to students in all course formats (F2F, OL, and HYB) during the last two weeks of their course via the EvaluationKIT survey platform. 

Encouraging Student Participation & Student Access to CATS Surveys

Best Practices in Increasing Student Response Rates:  This resource provides strategies for increasing student buy-in and participation in survey completion. 

Students can complete the CATS survey during the last two weeks of each course.  Students have two ways to access their CATS surveys:

  • Via their WilmU Email Address: A unique link is sent to students via email at the start of the survey period (2 weeks prior to the end of the course), with reminders provided to non-respondents every three days throughout. 
    • Link delivered from coursesurvey@wilmu.edu
    • Addressed to student name, provided by CTE
    • Informs students of survey due date
  • Via Canvas: The Student Course Evaluations tab will appear on the course menu bar the first day of week six for blocks and week thirteen for semester courses.  Upon clicking this menu bar item, students will see:
    • Pending course surveys appear at the top of the screen, highlighted in blue.
    • Completed course surveys appear at the bottom of the screen, highlighted in gray.

Resources for Faculty

  • CATS Access for Faculty: Please use your Wilmington University credentials to login to review your CATS feedback via EvaluationKIT. To view copies of course reports prior to the summer 2019 semester please send an email to coursesurvey@wilmu.edu
  • Reporting Features Available for All Faculty:
    • Response Rate Tracker- Provides faculty with an opportunity to monitor student participation during survey collection periods.
    • Project Results-Provides an opportunity to review your CATS results by terms and course.
    • Report Builder-Allows faculty to view item-specific results over time or by course.
    • Results Feedback- Faculty can use this tool to discuss their results directly with their program chair.
  • CATS Interpretation Guide for Faculty: This resource provides faculty with institutional averages for each survey item as well as a pairing of CATS items with their related Pathways to Instructional Excellence workshops. Faculty may schedule a confidential review of their CATS feedback and suggested actions by emailing facultydevelopment@wilmu.edu

Development of CATS

The development of CATS was truly a collaborative process, involving input from the CTE, Wilmington University’s Academic Leadership, Program Chairs, and Adjunct Faculty.  CATS was validated via a seven-step survey construction process endorsed by educational researchers (Artino, La Rochelle, Dezee & Gehlbach, 2014): 

  • Step #1: Conduct literature review: To increase survey relevance and identify instructional best-practices associated with the teaching of adult learners, teaching accelerated courses, teaching in an open-enrollment environment and teaching in a scholar-practitioner model a review of relevant educational research was completed. 
  • Step #2: Conduct interviews and focus groups.  Academic program chair interviews and focus groups further clarified the relevancy of specific student feedback as it relates to teaching performance.  In addition, Wilmington University’s adjunct faculty were surveyed on the feedback they deem valuable and relevant to their teaching performance.
  • Step #3: Synthesize the literature review and focus groups.  Faculty and Program Chair feedback provided a blueprint for CTE’s first draft of the CATS survey.   
  • Step #4. Develop items.  CATS items were designed to measure the relevant aspects of teaching effectiveness identified in the literature review and further revised to include focus group and faculty survey feedback. CATS includes 20 Likert scaled items and 2 qualitative items. The draft of CATS was presented to Wilmington University’s Academic Council for their approval.
  • Step #5: Conduct expert validation:  Wilmington University’s CTE and Excelsior College’s Institutional Outcomes Department collaborated to edit CATS for clarity prior to pilot testing.   
  • Step #6: Conduct cognitive interviews:  Student participants were interviewed t to ensure that CATS items are interpreted in the intended manner.
  • Step #7: Conduct pilot testing.  The CATS survey pilot took place during the spring and summer 2018 semesters. 

This rigorous validation process ensures a valid, reliable means of collecting student feedback on teaching effectiveness is in place.  Based on the flexible, student-centered focus of our institutional values CATS measures the unique and innovative ways Wilmington University defines teaching effectiveness. 

Reference:  Artino, A. R. J., La, R. J. S., Dezee, K. J., & Gehlbach, H. (2014). Developing questionnaires for educational research: amee guide no. 87. Medical Teacher, 36(6), 463–74. https://doi.org/10.3109/0142159X.2014.889814.