Paper and Pencil Course Evaluations

NIU's Testing Services machine scores and processes spring and fall course evaluations. We ask all instructors to follow these instructions carefully when submitting evaluations for processing.

Administering the Evaluations

Evaluations should be adminstered by a student or staff member that is not the instructor being evaluated. The instructor should not be present in the room at the time of evaluations.

  1. Print a copy of the Course and Instructor Evaluation Instructions and Script (PDF)
  2. Provide each student with an N-510 Answer Form (these can be picked up at, or requested from, Testing Services)
  3. Have a student or departmental staff member other than the instructor administer the evaluation, using the instructions and script provided
  4. Student or departmental staff member (not the instructor) should collect evaluations and place in envelope provided with the N-510 Answer Forms

Submitting the Evaluation Packets

When submitting your packets of evaluations to be processed, attach a completed cover sheet with the following information filled out for each course/packet:

  • Reference number
  • Instructor's name
  • Course number (for example, if the course is in the English department, enter 103, 104, 105, etc.)
  • Class section (for example, if the course is English 103, enter section 1, 2, 3, etc.)

Only one cover sheet is needed per group of packets; however, the information on the cover sheet should be listed in the same order as the packets. For example, if reference number 2222 is listed first on the cover sheet, it should be the top packet in the submission. When you list and stack reference numbers in order, we can process your evaluations more quickly.

Direct any questions regarding the administration and/or interpretation of student evaluations processed by Testing Services to Kathy King at or 815-753-6148.


A report (see sample PDF) showing the results of responses to departmentally prepared items will be prepared for each course section for which evaluation sheets are submitted. One copy will be sent to the departmental personnel committee and another copy will be sent to the instructor.

If the instructor administered evaluation items for his/her own personal use, a second report showing the results of these items will be prepared. This report and all evaluation response sheets for the corresponding course section will be given to the appropriate instructor.

The results of all University Council mandated evaluations as well as those for instructors' personal items are reported in the same format. Each department and/or instructor is to provide the appropriate interpretation in keeping with the wording of each item and the weighting scale assigned to it.

The following information appears on your Student Evaluation of Instruction Reports.

Identification infomation (top line of report) and examples:

  • Instructor name (Smith)
  • Class number (COMS 111)
  • Course/reference number (5566)
  • Section number (01)
  • Department name (COMS)
  • Date evalation was processed (12/02/17)

Item and rating information:

  • Item - The item number is listed in the second column (it corresponds to paraphrase of item in first column).
  • Valid rates - The number of students responding to the item.
  • Avg. - The average or mean response for the item. Means are computed on the basis of the weights assigned to the potential responses by the academic department. Weighting possibilities include:
    • A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5
      • Means are calculated according (i.e., a mean of 4.2 is closer to an "E" response than an "A" response.) If no specific weighting practice is requested, this is the default pattern used.
    • A=5, B=4, C=3, D=2, E=1
      • A mean of 4.2 is closer to an "A" response than an "E" response.
    • No weight by preference - if a deparment reports an item with a non-continuous response pattern
      • For example, "yes or no" questions where "A" equals "yes" and "B" equals "no." No weights are assigned to the responses and the mean is reported as zero.
  • Median - The middle score, representing the hypothetical point above and below which 50 percent of the respondents' ratings were made.
  • SD - The standard deviation of the responses to the item based on the assigned response weights.
  • Rate A-E - the letters refer to the response positions on NIU's N5-19 scannable form
    • No. - this value is the number of students who marked the respective letter response
    • & - this value is the percentage of valid raters who marked the response
  • Subgroup average - The average response or mean of all responses to the items included in the departmentally designated subgroup.
  • No. of sheets - The total number of evaluation sheets processed for the course selection.