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FCQ Info for Staff and Instructors

FCQ office, 15 UCB, Boulder campus
Located in Regent basement, room 1B29
Voice 303-492-7069
Fax 303-492-0996

Administration dates --- Return to top

– For fall and spring terms, both paper and online FCQs are administered during the week before the last week of regular classes. Check the FCQ Calendar for the current spring or fall term’s administration dates. For the erratic schedule of summer classes, paper FCQs should be administered the last day or two of class. Online FCQs for summer classes are administered at the end of the Maymester session and approximately every week during the rest of summer classes -- we match up the various summer class end dates to the best online FCQ administration week. (For more information on online FCQs, please see the Online FCQ Procedures .)

Administration procedure --- Return to top

– FCQs should be administered by someone other than the instructor or TA. The instructor should announce the date of administration in advance, make #2 pencils available on that day, and select a responsible individual to administer the FCQs. Neither instructors nor TAs for the course should be present at any time during administration, nor should they have any contact with the FCQs after administration. The administrator should collect the FCQs and put them back in their envelope, then take them to the department office.  See FCQ Instructions for Administrators and Instructions for Instructors for more detailed information.

Campus mail and FCQ envelopes --- Return to top

If your office needs to mail FCQ envelopes via campus mail, please note that all FCQ envelopes put into campus mail are automatically returned to the FCQ office by mailing services. If you need to mail an FCQ packet to someone else, you will need to put it inside a plain mailing envelope and address it with the recipient's name, department, and campus box number. Alternatively, you may want to hand-deliver FCQ packets which need to go to an instructor in another department, to make sure that delivery is made in time.

Never try to re-use an FCQ envelope as a mailing envelope. FCQ envelopes will always be delivered to the FCQ office, regardless of anything you write on the envelope.

Combined sections --- Return to top

FCQs for combined sections are set up under the sponsoring section only, and all students enrolled, regardless of which section they are enrolled in, are served with FCQs.  Please never add a non-sponsoring section to your FCQ course list.  (This applies to both paper and online FCQs.)

If a dept coordinator needs to add a class with combined sections to the FCQ course list during the editing process, please be sure to add the sponsoring section ONLY, but set the enrollment equal to ALL students in the class, regardless of which section they are enrolled in.  If you have any questions about how to handle this, please email or call the FCQ office when you are editing your FCQ course list.

Midterm evaluations --- Return to top

–Midterm evaluations are strongly encouraged. The purpose of a midterm evaluation is to provide feedback to the instructor, and it should be given early in the semester, preferably around the third week. If you would like to use the FCQ questions for a midterm evaluation, click here to download a PDF that you can photocopy. We do not provide scannable FCQ forms for the purpose of midterm evaluations, due to security issues. If you have a large class and would like the ratings scanned from your midterm evals (using FCQ items or not), have students mark their ratings on a scannable answer sheet (the "#10 option" sheet), available from the Testing and Assessment Center (TAC) in the Norlin Library (room E275, in the Norlin Copy Center). Take the sheets to TAC for scanning. Call the TAC office at 2-6700 if you have questions regarding scanning.

Early outs --- Return to top

–To print FCQs for early out courses (courses ending before usual term end date), we typically need 2 weeks of notice from Boulder departments, or 3 weeks of notice from UCCS and UCD departments. Please email your request ( ) -- tell us what date you need the FCQs by, and give us all course info that would normally be printed on the FCQ envelope label (instructor's first and last name, instructor group, course ID -- i.e., ANTH 2360-001 -- and number of forms needed). If it is too late for us to print, we can still provide special attention blank packets at the last minute, at a charge of $10 per packet. Please note that the request for an early out packet should typically come from the department FCQ coordinator, not from the instructor. 

Extended studies, Denver or UCCS --- Return to top

–We are happy to provide and process FCQs for Denver or UCCS extended studies (D2 or C2) course-sections, if they can be provided and processed within our regular calendar and procedures. We will not process D2 or C2 “special attention” or late packets, or provide "early outs." To receive D2 or C2 FCQs, the academic department FCQ coordinator accurately adds the class(es) to the department’s FCQ course list during the regular FCQ course list editing process (which takes place for fall and spring terms only). For online FCQs, administration is during the regular online FCQ administration week; for paper, the packets are sent with the regular shipment of FCQs, and the packets must be returned to us by the regular deadline.

Group optional questions --- Return to top

– Group Optional Questions are requested by departments, colleges, or campuses (not by instructors) to run each term on side B of FCQs for specific groups of courses (e.g., all 5000-level PSYC courses; or all FINE sections taught by TA’s). These optionals are typically requested by a dean or department chair. Group optionals are run each term until cancelled by the requesting authority. Group Optional Request Forms are sent out each fall to departments and colleges, along with a Group Optionals Status Report which shows what questions are currently requested.

Instructor group --- Return to top

  • TTT = Tenured or tenure-track instructor
  • OTH = Other primary instructor, such as GPTI, adjunct, visiting, honorarium, etc.
  • TA = Teaching assistant
Comparative data within instructor group are provided on the FCQ section report. Please correct the instructor group on your envelope label if it is incorrect, so that we can correct our database.

Instructor name changes --- Return to top

– If the name of the instructor on the envelope label and on the forms is not correct, just cross out the incorrect name on the envelope and neatly write the correct name near the envelope label (please give us last name and full first name). Please also write "instructor name change" on the envelope. We will correct our database when we receive the envelope. You do not need to correct the name on the forms themselves.

Multiple instructors --- Return to top

– For courses with multiple instructors, each instructor can request an individual FCQ packet (one for "Jones, Maria" and one for "Smith, William"), or you can request a single "team" FCQ packet (for "Jones/Smith"). The department FCQ coordinator and the instructors should consult to ensure that FCQs are ordered the way they are desired. Contact us if you have further questions.

Optional questions --- Return to top

– If an instructor wants to specify optional questions for side B of their FCQs, he or she should use the online form on the FCQ web page ( Over 800 questions are already catalogued at, or you can create your own custom optionals (up to 150 characters) on the request form. You may request a total of 24 questions. Deadline for submitting optional questions is October 1 for fall term, March 1 for spring, because this is when we begin printing FCQs. However, we will always accept and process your optional questions as long as we have not yet actually printed your FCQ forms -- so feel free to submit 'late' requests. Due to scheduling pressures, optional questions are not available during summer terms.  

Other info for instructors on optional questions:
    • Individual optional questions are run for the current term only – you must "renew" your request each term, for each course-section, if you want the optionals to run again.
    • Individual optional questions take precedence over ‘group optionals’ requested by a department, college or campus. In other words, what an instructor requests will displace group optionals if there are not enough lines on side B of the FCQ form to print all requests. There is room for a total of 24 optional questions. Contact the FCQ office if you would like to know what group optionals (if any) your department has requested.

Rates --- Return to top

– For Boulder main campus, normal FCQs are covered by the general fund – there is no charge to individual academic units (unless “special attention” or other processing anomalies are encountered).

For Denver and UCCS campuses, and for Boulder continuing education, FCQs are provided and processed on a fee basis. Beginning with fall 2009, the rate for FCQ processing for our fee-paying clients is $4.50 per instructor-course-section and $0.17 per student. These rates apply to both paper and online FCQ processing, due to the challenges we face in running two parallel processing systems and the need for highly qualified IT expertise to run the online FCQ system (despite its lower cost in paper, scanning, printing, transportation and storage).

Reports --- Return to top

Section report -- The 8 ½ x 11" sheet included in each FCQ envelope when it is returned to instructors after forms have been scanned and processed. Includes complete FCQ numerical results for a single course section, including scanning results and comparative data. A duplicate set of section reports is sent to the academic dept office for their permanent records. 

Distribution copies -- Copies of section reports that are sent to various deans, vice chancellors and archive offices for their permanent files. Distribution copies are sent out approximately 3 months after the initial section reports are distributed.

Instructor summary -- Boulder campus only. Sent out each August to academic departments, colleges, and archive offices; gives one line of data for each course taught by an instructor from 1988 through the most recent spring term. Printed only for instructors in groups TTTor OTH (not for TAs) who have taught within the past 3 years.

Department summary -- Boulder campus only. Sent out with instructor summaries each August to academic departments, colleges, and archive offices. Gives departmental averages and comparative data from 1988 through the most recent spring term in each of four areas (student grades, instructor ratings, course ratings, and workload).

How to get old reports: Instructor summary or department summary -- Boulder campus only. The FCQ office keeps a complete set of the most recent instructor and department summaries, containing data from 1988 through the most recent spring term. If your department has lost what we sent out in August, contact us and we will fax or mail a replacement page or pages.

Section report – If you cannot locate either the instructor copy or the departmental copy, permanent files are at:

    • Boulder campus: Norlin Library Archives, in the Norlin Library basement, room 1B43, phone 2-7242. Open Mon/Wed/Fri 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM (closed Tues/Thurs). Bring an accurate list of the courses and terms for which you need section reports (bring an instructor summary if you have it, which accurately lists all courses). Also bring photo ID and cash, check or IN for cost of copying (15 cents a copy up to 50 copies – note that the Archives office is not on the copy card system). If you have an extensive list of courses, it may take 1 - 2 hours for the retrieval and copy process – the Archives office asks that you please not arrive a few minutes before closing time.
    • Denver campus: Academic Affairs office, Laura Goodwin, Assoc VC for Faculty Affairs (6-2550)
    • Colorado Springs campus: Academic Affairs office, Kathy Englund (x3121)

Results from other platforms --- Return to top

– We post to the FCQ Results Requester only data that we have collected ourselves. There are multiple reasons for this policy, but the primary reason is that we cannot ensure the quality of data we have not collected ourselves. This means that we will not post data to the FCQ Results Requester that a dept collects using its own methods, whether Qualtrics, Blackboard, MailChimp or any other survey platform.


Some Frequently Asked Questions Regarding FCQs

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1) Why do you report the mean of the FCQ scores, rather than the median?

We have added medians to our section reports (as of fall 2001). However, means will continue to be our primary method of reporting averages for the following reasons:

With a 6-point scale, the median does a poor job of discriminating among courses, in that it can take on only the following values:

With an odd number of raters: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6

With an even number: 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, or 6

The mean, by contrast, can take on any value between 1 and 6. Using a statistic that takes on so few values and is affected by whether there are even or odd numbers of raters can be quite misleading. Medians are more often used with such measures as income, which can take on a very large number of values spread over a very large range.

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2) Have you considered reporting a trimmed mean?

A trimmed mean is computed in the same manner as an untrimmed mean except that some observations are first deleted from both ends (tails) of a distribution. The criteria for deletion could be something like 5% off each end, or could depend on the data, e.g., more than two standard deviations from the mean. This is similar to dropping the lowest test score for a student's grade in a class, not an unusual approach.

However, FCQ ratings typically are not normally distributed, but tend to be bunched at the high end of the scale. Therefore the primary effect of any trimming would be to drop a disproportionate number of low ratings.

We prefer to use all ratings when estimating a mean FCQ score. We have no immediate plans to report trimmed means, and would continue to report untrimmed means in any case.

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3) Do the FCQ packets become the property of the department, or of the instructor?

The FCQ office returns packets with their section reports to the departments. The department chair determines who sees the FCQs first, how they are distributed to instructors, and whether they become the permanent property of the instructors or not.

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4) Is it valid for a department to use FCQ scores exclusively when evaluating an instructor’s teaching?

No. The FCQ program should be only one component of a well-rounded instructor rating system. 

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5) Under what conditions would the FCQ office remove sheets from an FCQ packet that has already been processed?

We usually pull sheets only for the following reasons:

1) There is clear evidence (usually in the student’s comments) that the sheet was intended to evaluate some other course or instructor. 

2) There is evidence of multiple sheets being submitted by one student, usually determined by evaluating handwriting and/or how bubbles were filled in.

On Boulder campus, sheets may also be pulled because of abusive comments (see FCQ Comment Filtering). However, sheets are not pulled simply because of low ratings. 

When an instructor requests that we pull some questionable sheets from a packet which has already been processed, we require that

1) The entire packet be returned to us with an explanatory note or phone call, clearly stating why specific sheets should be pulled.

2) The department chair be contacted and give approval, if the decision to pull sheets is not entirely straightforward.

If we agree after reviewing the packet that the sheets should be pulled and scores recalculated, a new section report will be generated, and the new report with cover letter sent to the instructor and the department. We also adjust our longitudinal database.  Because we archive FCQ data each term in order to process the next term's data, requests for changes in scoring should be made promptly.

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6) Are FCQ results different for men and women instructors?

No. We analyzed ratings in 19,256 course sections between 1995-96 and 1999-00. Labs and recitations were excluded. 35% of the sections were taught by women. The correlation between instructor rating (a 5-point scale) and instructor gender is between +.05 and -.05 overall and within each college, with one exception in a small college. In other words, there is no systematic relationship between instructor gender and instructor ratings. In no case does gender account for more than 2% of the variance in ratings. Within the largest college, Arts and Sciences, we also checked the relationship between instructor gender and ratings after controlling for course size and course level. Again, we found no relationship.

For further detail, see Effects of Instructor Gender and Ethnicity on FCQ Ratings Given by Students.

Last revision 05/19/16

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