Assess teaching

Classroom Performance System survey


The Classroom Performance System (CPS) is a software/hardware system that allows instructors to ask students multiple-choice or numeric questions and receive immediate, in-class feedback using a portable receiver, student remote control response pads, computer projection equipment or response pads with LCD screens and response analysis software. Responses are anonymous  when the instructor selects Anonymous Mode in the Session Options window at the beginning of the survey. [more]

Suggested uses of CPS surveys:

Limitations of CPS surveys:

Resource requirements

A moderate level of knowledge about instrument design and writing survey questions is required unless you are using previously validated questions or survey instruments. In addition, training or experience in using the CPS system is recommended. [more]

Plan your CPS survey

STEP 1. Describe the context

Include the age, majors, educational background, motivation level, and skill levels of students. Also consider central goals of the course, your ability to implement changes, and how the instructional setting impacts your course. A worksheet is available to help you document your instructional context.

STEP 2. Identify stakeholder needs and develop central questions

Identify what is most essential for students, your needs, and any organizational priorities that impact your course. Central questions, informed by these needs, specify what you want to learn from an assessment. For example, "Are students effectively using online technology in my course?" A worksheet is available to help you identify stakeholder needs and develop central questions.

STEP 3. Determine the purpose of the survey

A survey should have a clear purpose and focus. Avoid the temptation of asking too many questions in a single survey or surveying students "just to see what's going on." Using your central questions as a guide, specify how your survey will help you gain insight, change course practices, or measure the effects of a change you have implemented. A worksheet is available to help you develop and refine your study’s purposes.

STEP 4. Determine how you will use the results

How you intend to use results should also guide the content of your survey. If you will not use responses to a survey question to guide course or program content or instruction, leave the question out.  A worksheet is available to help exemplify how to use results after determining the purpose of a study.

STEP 5. Design the survey

Decide at what point in your course you will survey your students and schedule it into your course schedule. If you gather information using other assessment methods, be sure to include them in your plan and schedule them at different times. Refer to the teaching assessment planning process for additional help in developing your plan. Once your plan is made, begin creating your survey.

Writing survey questions

Instructors can compose questions within the software or can create questions in any application for display on a document camera, overhead projector, a Web page, or as a handout. For step-by-step instructions to author questions with the CPS software, open the application and use the Help pull-down menu.  PowerPoint also offers an easy way to create questions by selecting Insert Question and adding questions and responses into a PowerPoint slide.

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) offers regular workshops and individual consultations on how to use CPS.

[more about writing survey questions]

Determine question type

You can select or edit the question type and response format for scaled questions using a drop-down menu at the top of the same page you use to write questions.

[more about CPS question types]
[more about scaled questions and response scales]

Survey format

Limit your in-class CPS survey to five questions or fewer so it does not become tedious. With CPS, several short surveys over multiple class meetings are better than one long survey. CPS works well for questions that can be answered fairly quickly, but is less effective for assessing complex problem solving, which requires understanding a process. [more]

Editing the survey

Once you have created a question, you can edit it using the CPS program by returning to the Lessons tab, selecting the survey and the question and then choosing Edit under the Tools button. You can edit the text of a question, the responses, or the response format using the Template feature. You can also remove the question by choosing Delete under the Tools button.


Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
Copyright © 2007, The University of Texas at Austin