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How Students’ Confidentiality Is Protected

All data – students’ open-ended comments and instructors’ ratings – are confidential. Individual student responses and individual instructor reports are protected by federal and state privacy laws. Instructors will never know how an individual student responded to any question, and students will never know the ratings for any particular instructor.

The only possible time a student could be identified is if they were to include identifiable information in their open-ended comments as these are provided verbatim.  So a student should take care to ensure they do not compromise their anonymity through their own comments.

After students submit their completed questionnaires, the resulting data is analyzed by Institutional Strategy and Analysis (ISA). ISA prepares a summary report PDF Document for each instructor that includes the mean rating on each close-ended question. A separate report will consist of only the verbatim responses to each open-ended question.

Due to student’s identity being protected, the instructor will not know how any individual responded to any given question. Instructors will not even be able to determine who participated in the evaluation and who did not.  To protect the identity of students in small classes, a survey will not be generated for classes with fewer than five students enrolled. (Reg lifted limit – Fall 2009, Spring 2010, Summer 2010 and Reg. – Reinstated Fall 2010).

Reports will not be distributed until after grades have been posted.

The only exception to these confidentiality rules are when a student describes an unlawful activity or when comments raise significant safety concerns. In those cases, ISA is obliged by law to report the matter to the Office of Legal Affairs.

All ClassEval data are protected from creation to archival storage using the same strategies used to protect other confidential student and personnel information maintained by the University:

  • The web interface (for students filling out questionnaires) is reached through appropriate authentication and https protocol.
  • The working tables and reports are based on central office servers that also contain student, personnel, and other protected data, and are protected to the same level of security through firewalls and other means.
  • The transmission of evaluations results is only provided via online delivery over an SSL secured website that links only to reporting tables and no other ClassEval data.