Frequently Asked Questions


Once an evaluation is submitted, it cannot be changed or removed from the system by anyone for any reason.

  • Receive your grades before the official grade release date - Students who complete all of your course evaluations by the end of the last day of instruction will be able to review your grades as soon as your instructor submit them, prior to the official grade release date. Note: The actual date that early grades become available varies from course to course since faculty have a period of time to finish grading student work.
  • Help improve the educational experience - Student evaluations of teaching effectiveness help SF State ensure quality teaching and learning in all classes in all programs. When you provide meaningful comments that explain what has helped you learn, and also suggest approaches your instructors could use to help you learn better, you help your instructors make continuous improvements to their classes. Your feedback to your instructor is anonymous and confidential. Instructors cannot identify specific student responses and only receive evaluation results after final grades have been submitted.
  • Pay it forward - Other students are making comments to instructors that will, in some way, shape the classes you take next semester, or next year. When all students provide constructive feedback on all courses, all students benefit from good teaching. Your voice matters, make it count.

Once the evaluation period opens, you will receive one email message per instructor per course to your SFSU email account. In addition, links to all your teaching evaluations will appear in a block in Canvas after you log in. As you complete your teaching evaluations, these links will disappear. Although you have logged in to Canvas, your responses remain confidential and there is no way for your instructor to identify your submission. 

No. You can complete each evaluation whenever it is most convenient to you – one at a time or all at once. When you compete one evaluation, you’ll be invited to complete an additional evaluation until all are done. You will, however, have to complete each individual evaluation in one sitting since the system is not able to save partially completed evaluations. Also, your evaluation is not entered until you hit the submit button!

Almost all instructors and classes will be evaluated. Exceptions may be classes with very low enrollment, where there is very little instructor-student interaction, when there is an instructor change after the census date or when the course is not for credit.

No, instructors are never able to identify the responses or comments of individual students, even though you have accessed the teaching evaluations by logging in to your SF State email or Canvas account. The link is in no way tied to your student account. It is a unique, one time use password to take the survey. Also, all data are shown in aggregate form to the instructors, they cannot see individual student responses. Lastly, instructors are not able to access evaluations until one week after the date that official grades are due.


Students will be notified two ways:

  • SF State official email
  • Teaching Evaluation block in Canvas -  Links to all teaching evaluations will appear in a block in Canvas after they log in. As they complete their teaching evaluations, these links will disappear. Although they have logged in to Canvas, their responses remain confidential and there is no way for you, the instructor, to identify their submission.

An automated email to faculty will be sent prior to the SETE period ending with an in-progress response rate.

Although many faculty members believe that lower response rates might lead to less favorable item ratings, the literature has not proven this to be true. See the SF State Online Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness Study, completed in collaboration with the Academic Senate.

A recent study makes the point that “response rates are not an indicator of student perception, only that of participation.” In fact, the authors note, if the same survey questions are used for an online version and paper version, the actual outcomes and ratings received from the students are similar regardless of which method was used (Burton, William B., Civitano, Adele, and Steiner-Grossman, Penny (2012). Online versus paper evaluations: differences in both quantitative and qualitative data. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, No. 24, pp 58-69).



Faculty can consult the Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness Calendar to verify the open and close dates for online course evaluation periods.

For instructor changes that occur after the census date, department contacts (AOCs and/or chairs) should alert the SETE Operations Team ( as soon as possible. The SETE Operations Team will remove the course section from the SETE system and neither instructor will be evaluated. In addition, the SETE Operations Team will provide assistance to the department on using an alternative evaluation process (ex: paper-based, Qualtrics, etc.) for the course section.


All evaluation reports will be released to faculty and department chairs at the same time, one week after the grades submission deadline.

Yes, department averages and means will be listed at the top of department report. See the SETE Portal Guide for a legend of how department reports are organized.

Yes, raw data will be provided to the departments on a per-class/per instructor basis. See the SETE Portal Guide for how to download a spreadsheet of this data.

Question Items & Comment Sections

See the SETE Portal Guide on how to view comments for a specific course. Some departments do not include open-ended questions on their reports. The six core university questions do not include open-ended questions.

The order of the questions will be provided in the same order as indicated in Academic Senate Policy #S13-213 and cannot be changed. The six University questions will come first, then the college questions, and then the department questions.

Only colleges and departments may add additional questions. Faculty can use either Qualtrics or iLearn to create separate surveys to ask these additional questions.

Evaluated Courses

Currently the instructors will receive two separate reports (one from each listed course). Only the department in which the instructor is employed will receive the evaluation report.

All SF State credit bearing courses will be evaluated using the SETE system, unless a department chair makes an explicit request for a particular course or course series to be exempt from this requirement. Examples might include Independent Study or Master’s Thesis courses. A couple months before the evaluation period begins, the SETE team will reach out to department contacts to confirm which courses they would like evaluated.

Students will receive a separate evaluation for each official instructor of record listed within the SFSU Gateway.