MIT Subject Evaluations


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Key Dates for
Summer 2018:

Evaluation Period:
Mon, August 13, 9am -
Mon, August 20, 9am
View Results:
Tues, August 28


View results

View real-time
response rates

(available during evaluation period This report for instructors and administrators uses real-time registration numbers to calculate response rates. Since registrations are fluid through the end of the term (and sometimes beyond), the real-time response rates may differ from those on final evaluation reports which are based on registration numbers at the close of each survey window.)

Question Management Guidelines

As a supplement to MIT’s standard questions, instructors, departments, and schools may add a limited number of targeted, customized questions to their subject evaluations. Questions can be framed in a variety of formats such as scalar, numeric, and open-ended, among others. They are an opportunity for you to gather nuanced feedback while making the survey more relevant for students.

Customized questions are added to the surveys by a designated department administrator or subject evaluation coordinator, who should enter them into the system no later than three weeks before the start of an evaluation period. Please contact for the name of the subject evaluation coordinator in your department.

Creating Questions | Types of Questions | Number of Questions | Examples

Creating Questions

Questions Are Reusable

In order to compare answers to questions over time, think of questions that will be applicable now and in future terms. Individual questions and groups of questions can be saved and added to future surveys if you avoid using term-specific dates or language in the question text.

Rating Scale Makes Sense

Please make sure you choose a rating scale that makes sense in the context of the question.

Questions Do Not Identify Students

In order to preserve anonymity, you may not ask questions about a student’s major, year, gender, race, or other demographic information. Because the answers could be used to identify students, these types of questions will be removed from your survey.

Institute Questions Are Not Duplicated

The Institute questions always appear first in the evaluations and cannot be removed or changed. Please review the form to avoid duplication when crafting your own questions:

In addition to one of the above sets of questions,

  1. The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement adds Communication Requirement Questions to all CI (CI-H, CI-HW, and CI-M) subjects. When a Writing Advisor is part of the instructional staff, it also adds Questions about the Writing Advisor.
  2. The Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement currently adds HASS Requirement Questions to all HEX subjects and a sampling of HASS subjects.

Optional Questions Are at the Appropriate Level

You may create questions to be used in one subject or in a set of subjects.

Subject-Specific Questions are the most common and target an individual subject’s content or format, or an instructor’s teaching.

Department/Program Questions are applicable to all subjects or a group of subjects within a particular department or program. They are typically used to measure goals and objectives needed for departmental curriculum development, accreditation, or visiting committee reports.

School Questions are the most general and should be applicable to all subjects within a particular school. Typically they are used to measure goals and objectives as required by accreditation agencies.

For more information on designing effective survey questions, download an excerpt of Overview of Issues in Assessment & Evaluation (PDF) by Lisa O’Leary Shuler, former associate director for assessment and evaluation in MIT’s Teaching and Learning Lab.

Types of Questions

Questions can be directed toward instructors, sections, or the subject as a whole. Instructor or section questions can be repeated for each instructor or section, while subject questions will appear only once on the evaluation.

There are four types of questions that can be added to MIT evaluations:

1. Likert Scale

You may choose the number of scale items (up to 10) and the label of each. The Institute questions use a 7-point scale. The most positive response may be the highest number (e.g. 1=Strongly Disagree and 7=Strongly Agree) or the middle number (e.g. 1=Too slow, 4=Just right, 7=Too fast). You may choose whether or not to include a “Not Applicable” option for students.


Strongly Disagree






Strongly Agree

Not Applicable

I have a good understanding of the subject concepts.


2. Multiple-Choice

Multiple-choice questions can encompass 2 to 30 choices in a dropdown menu. Please note that Yes/No questions ARE multiple-choice with two choices, yes and no. Multiple-Select (“select all that apply”) questions are NOT supported by the MIT evaluation system.

Example: I have attended recitation meetings __% of the time.

3. Numeric

You may set your own range of acceptable answers, e.g. between 0 and 10, but responses must be a whole number.

Example: On average, how many hours per week did you spend on homework? ___

4. Open-ended

Open-ended questions ask for student comments.

Example: What readings did you enjoy the most?

In selecting the type of question, keep in mind that the Institute reports results of the quantitative questions (Types 1-3) to all members of the MIT community while the unedited open-ended comments are available only to instructors and department headquarters.

Number of Questions

The Subject Evaluation Advisory Committee recommends limiting the number of additional, customized questions for each subject to 13 in order to encourage more student participation and enable students to spend their time giving substantive feedback.
Each time a student has to provide an answer, it counts as one question. The following example counts as three questions, not one.

How much did the following contribute to your learning?

As noted above, faculty committees add special questions to certain instructors and subjects.

  1. The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement adds 3 questions to all CI subjects.
  2. The Subcommittee on the Communication Requirement adds 2 questions to each Writing Advisor.
  3. The Subcommittee on the HASS Requirement adds 4 questions to all HEX subjects and a sampling of HASS subjects in which the instructors have agreed to include the additional questions.

Although these special questions will not be added to evaluations until after departmental coordinators enter questions, they should be counted against the 13 question limit.

Departments and schools should inform subject evaluation coordinators at the beginning of the term which if any questions they plan to add. The coordinators can then communicate to instructors early in the term about the questions already to be included in the subject’s evaluation, the number of questions the instructor may add, and the deadline for submitting questions to the coordinator.


View our question library for sample questions.

© 2011 Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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