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Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research

Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research

116 College Avenue
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: (848) 932-7466
Fax: (732) 932-1845

SIRS Procedures


  • February 2019: For both paper and online surveys — CTAAR sends list of course surveys to departments for review and corrections.
  • Please note - for surveys that should run earlier in the semester (e.g., 7-week courses) please contact us at least two weeks before the survey should begin to request an online survey or a paper survey packet.
Online Surveys (Sakai) (see also Blue survey dates) Paper Surveys
  • Note: - these dates are for surveys hosted in Sakai. Some departments will use a new system, eXplorance Blue; the Blue dates overlap but are not exactly the same. Please refer to the Blue dates if your school uses Blue surveys.
  • March 13, 2019: Deadline for departments to return survey lists to CTAAR with changes and amendments. For courses that end early in the semester, departments must request surveys at least two weeks prior to the the end of the course.
  • Week of April 1: CTAAR informs faculty and instructors of their individual survey details. Instructors can request changes by replying to the email.
  • April 12: Deadline for faculty and instructors to request changes to their surveys.
  • April 15 - 24: Period for faculty to add questions to SIRS (may vary, depending on survey dates).
  • April 25 (tentative): Surveys begin (unless otherwise requested)
  • April 25 through end of survey: Students who have not responded will receive email reminders (exact dates vary)
  • May 9 : Surveys end (unless otherwise requested). Note that this is the first day of exams, if you want your survey to end earlier please request a date change.
  • May 17 - approximate last day to submit grades to the registrar (refer to the registrar’s schedule for exact dates)
  • May 20 - 31, 2019: Faculty and instructors receive survey results by email, departments receive results for all online surveys through a Sakai drop box.
  • May 27: RBS School 22 faculty receive survey results by email (delay to accommodate varied course schedule).
  • June 20: Law School faculty receive survey results by email (delay to accommodate longer grading period).
  • March 13: Team-taught courses and special processing: CTAAR must be informed by this date if your department has team-taught courses, or any special processing needs. Requests for paper surveys received after this date cannot be accommodated.
  • April 15: Date by which all survey forms will be delivered to departmental offices for distribution to the faculty.
  • April 25 - May 8: Time period during which we suggest surveys should be conducted. Faculty may prefer earlier or later dates, based on the individual class syllabus.
  • May 31: Last date CTAAR will accept surveys for scanning and processing. This date is more than 5 business days beyond the last day of classes, so that even instructors who conduct the survey during their final exam should be able to make the deadline.
  • Septempber 2019: Target date for the return of processed survey forms and summary statistics to the department offices. All survey packets, with forms and summary statistics, will be returned in a bundle addressed to the department Chair, for distribution to the faculty. In addition, a copy of the complete collection of summary statistics sheets for the department will be available for the Chair on the CTAAR web site.

General Information

Lecture and recitation or lab courses: The Student Instructional Rating Form is designed so that one survey will be used for each instructor. Therefore, the lecturer in a lecture class with recitation periods should have a survey in the lecture hall, and separate survey packets will be prepared for each recitation section, so that the recitation instructors can distribute surveys to the students in each of their own sections. 

CTAAR will set up online surveys or distribute survey packets in this fashion unless the department requests a different procedure. Please let us know by the deadline if you would like to follow a different procedure in your department. 

Team-taught courses: If a course is taught by a team of faculty members, we will prepare a separate survey for each member of the team. For example, if a course has three faculty members teaching as a team we will create three surveys, one for each instructor. Please notify CTAAR if you have any team-taught courses, the number of instructors in the team, and the name of each instructor by the deadline above (or earlier, if you want to run the surveys as each lecturer completes their component of the course).

Crosslisted courses may have a single, combined survey or separate surveys for each section, depending on the preference of the instructor. If the instructor does not inform us of his or her preference, we will generally combine sections according to the following guidelines:
- Undergraduate sections will be combined with other crosslisted undergraduate sections
- Graduate sections will be combined with other crosslisted graduate sections
- Undergraduate and graduate sections will generally remain separate, unless enrollment in one of the crosslisted sections is less than 6 students.

Summary data: CTAAR will calculate department and level averages for paper and online surveys separately, to allow for possible differences introduced by the survey format.

Follow-up procedures: When we receive all of the completed student rating forms for a department, we compile and return the results to the department after the university grading period closes. We do not interpret the student responses. Any instructors who feel that their survey has scanner or student errors should communicate this to his or her department chair. The department chair should inform us of any surveys that should be re-scanned or re-processed

Online Surveys Paper Surveys

Email Notifications: CTAAR will send each instructor an email notification approximately one or two weeks before the start of their survey. If you would like to alter the survey dates, correct the spelling of your name or alter the course title, simply reply to the email with your instructions.

Status Updates: CTAAR will send an email update about your survey progress each Tuesday and Thursday. You may also check our Current Surveys web page to check your survey progress. If you do not want to receive the email status updates, please write to us.

Completing online surveys during class time: For classrooms that have WiFi access, see the instructions for conducting the survey in class.

General Instructions for Completing the Student Instructional Rating Forms: Students can go to to complete all their course surveys. Please remind your students that:

  • The name of the instructor appears at the top of the survey. Students should double-check to make sure they are responding to the correct instructor before completing the survey.
  • Response fields for each question read from left to right, with the lowest scored response to the far left and the highest scored response to the far right - these are clearly labeled (see the sample online SIRS form). Students should make sure they mark the response they intend.
  • In cases where we mistakenly put the name of the wrong instructor on a course survey, students can notify us by email and complete the survey as if it is correct. We will correct the name on the form as soon as possible, and send all responses to the correct instructor.
  • More Information:

Header sheets: Instructors need only print their name, net id, school code, program or department code, course number and section number in the boxes provided and the title of the course where designated. The cooperation of the instructors in this task is much appreciated. 

General Instructions for Completing the Student Instructional Rating Forms: It is essential that the students mark the student rating forms so that the scanner can read them. Before the survey begins, please remind your students that: 

  • There are three parts to the form, parts A, B and C. 
    • Part A consists of 10 questions that you should answer by filling-in the appropriate response bubble for each question. 
    • Part B consists of blank spaces for questions provided by the instructor or the department offering the course. If there are no questions given for this section, then students should leave the response bubbles for Part B blank. 
    • Part C, on the back of the form, is the Comments section. Students should write their comments directly on the form. 
  • Students should fill-in the response bubbles completely; check marks, x's and circled responses will not be read by the scanner. Any incomplete erasures or double-responses will not be read accurately by the scanner. Students should use a dark pencil, a black pen, or a dark blue pen. Red ink or red pencil cannot be used. 
  • The response fields for each question read from left to right, with the lowest scored response to the far left and the highest scored response to the far right, numbered 1 through 5 (see the sample paper SIRS form). Therefore, a score of "1" indicates disagreement or "poor", and a score of "5" indicates agreement or "excellent". Students should make sure they mark the response they intend.
  • More Information:




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