Research Behind the 7 Construct Model

The principal reason for developing the Student Questionnaire on Instruction (SQOI) at College Survey Services, Inc., was to provide a course evaluation instrument and reporting system for college and university use that embodied and reflected empirical research findings in the teaching evaluation area. Over the years, evaluation researchers have concluded that instruction needs to be viewed as a multidimensional activity and that a relatively finite set of constructs underlie effective teaching: Feldman, 1976; Feldman, 1989; Marsh & Roche, 1993).

These constructs have been summarized by Centra (1998) and can be identified as follows:

  1. Effective communication
  2. Good organization of subject matter and course
  3. Enthusiasm for the subject matter and teaching
  4. Positive attitude toward students
  5. Fairness in examinations and grading
  6. Flexibility in approaches to teaching
  7. Relevant student learning outcomes


According to Seldin (1998), the systematic use of student ratings by deans at liberal arts colleges nationwide continue to increase. For example, while 80.3% of deans at 604 liberal arts colleges used student ratings in 1988, that figure had risen to 88.1% by 1998. In addition, student ratings of instruction were far and away the most heavily cited source of information for these deans regarding the performance of faculty. Given that critical decisions regarding faculty such as retention, promotion, tenure, and salary level are directly influenced by how well faculty teach, it is of vital importance to measure instructional effectiveness as accurately and fairly as possible and then convey the results of such measurement efforts to faculty, department chairs, and deans in a clear and accurate manner. Regarding this latter point, a Course Report form has been developed for use in conjunction with the SQOI. The report contains not only information specific to a given course section (e.g., response frequency, average rating per SQOI statement, etc.) but also vital department and campus-wide comparative information which can be used to put into proper context the evaluation results for a particular course section taught by a given faculty member.


It is clear that higher education institutions differ from one another (along the lines of mission, type of student served, academic programs offered and so forth) and therefore it is not necessarily the case that a particular evaluation instrument will be suitable for each and every institution. CSS offers your institution the opportunity to customize the SQOI so that you can assemble an evaluation form that most closely reflects the instructional values and criteria established by your faculty and administration. CSS can provide you with the evaluation form, the accompanying statistical and comment reports, and include the matching CE-Vue™ reporting tool that can allow you to evaluate meaningfully and comprehensively the instructional effectiveness of your teaching faculty. The CE-Vue™ constructs will be assigned to your statements after thorough review and consultation with your administration.


Centra, J. A. (1998). The Development of the Student Instructional Report II. Princeton, NJ. Educational Testing Service.

Feldman, K. A. (1976). The superior college teacher from the student’s view. Research in Higher Education, 5, 243-288.

Feldman, K. A. (1989). The association between student ratings of specific instructional dimensions and student achievement: Refining and extending

the synthesis of data from multi-section validity studies. Research in Higher Education, 30, 583-645.

Marsh, H. W., & Roche; L. A. (1993). The use of students’ evaluations and an individually structured intervention to enhance university teaching