Academic Programs Catalog

General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations

General Procedures and Regulations

Student Instructional Rating System (SIRS)


The principal objective of the student instructional rating policy is to secure information which is indispensable to implementation of the University's policy of providing its students with instruction of the highest quality. This information is put to two principal uses:  (1) providing instructors and teaching units with an accurate account of student response to their instructional practices, to the end that classroom effectiveness be maintained at the highest level of excellence; and (2) providing teaching units with one kind of information to be considered in deciding on retention, promotion, salary, and tenure, to the end that effectiveness in instruction constitutes an important criterion in evaluating the service to the University of members of the teaching faculty. In order to accomplish these objectives more fully, the following procedures were established.

  1. Every teaching unit shall approve one or more common student rating instruments through its own channels of participation, in accordance with unit bylaws and customs of collegial decision making. Regardless of the type of instrument adopted, it must prominently display the following notation:
    The Michigan State University CODE OF TEACHING RESPONSIBILITY holds all instructors to certain obligations with respect to, e.g., course content consistent with approved descriptions, timely statement of course objectives and grading criteria, regular class attendance, published office hours, and timely return of examinations and semester papers. This Code is printed in full in the Academic Programs catalog or is available online at It includes specifics about complaint procedures available to students who believe that their instructors have violated the Code.
  2. Each teaching unit shall make regular and systematic use of student instructional ratings as part of the unit's evaluation of instructional performance. Each teaching unit shall formulate and promulgate a comprehensive policy covering all aspects of student instructional rating procedures, and shall be responsible for implementing that policy within the framework of the provisions contained in this document. Students shall not be required or requested by faculty members to identify themselves on the rating forms.
  3. All instructors, regardless of rank, including graduate assistants, shall use unit-approved student instructional rating forms in all classes (every course, every section, every semester). For team-teaching situations, units shall develop procedures consistent with the intent of these provisions.
  4. Individual instructors may use other instruments to gather additional information.
  5. Results of student instructional ratings shall be used in accordance with the following provisions:
    1. Results shall be returned promptly to the instructor for information and assistance in improving course design and instruction.
    2. Instructors shall have the opportunity to comment, orally and/or in writing, upon the ratings received. These comments shall be taken into account by persons or groups charged with making or advising on personnel decisions.
    3. Results of student instructional ratings shall be systematically consulted, with due regard for strict confidentiality, in conjunction with other means for assessing individual effectiveness, according to the review criteria promulgated within each unit. Other means might include, e.g., classroom visits or consideration of course syllabi, assignments, and examinations.
  6. Procedures for implementing the rating process and for utilizing the results shall be promulgated by each teaching unit, subject to the following provisions:
    1. Duly promulgated unit procedures shall be filed in the offices of the appropriate Dean and the Provost, where they will be matters of public record.
    2. Unit administrators are responsible for implementing in their units SIRS procedures which follow fully the requirements of this document.
    3. Teaching units may have the required SIRS instruments administered by a person other than the instructor. If the unit does not administer the instruments, instructors are obligated to do so, and to return all results to unit offices within the time period specified in the unit procedures.
    4. At the time instruments are administered, students shall be informed who will have access to the results and how the results will be used.