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Do student evaluations measure teaching effectiveness?

Posted by Plamen Miltenoff on February 5, 2014

Do student evaluations measure teaching effectiveness?Manager’s Choice

Assistant Professor in MISTop Contributor

Higher Education institutions use course evaluations for a variety of purposes. They factor in retention analysis for adjuncts, tenure approval or rejection for full-time professors, even in salary bonuses and raises. But, are the results of course evaluations an objective measure of high quality scholarship in the classroom?

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  • Daniel WilliamsDaniel

    Daniel Williams

    Associate Professor of Molecular Biology at Winston-Salem State University

    I feel they measure student satisfaction, more like a customer service survey, than they do teaching effectiveness. Teachers students think are easy get higher scores than tough ones, though the students may have learned less from the former.

    Maria P.John S. and 17 others like this

  • Muvaffak

    Muvaffak GOZAYDIN

    Founder at Global Digital University

    Top Contributor

    How can you measure teachers’ effectiveness.
    That is how much students learn?
    If there is a method to measure how much we learn , I would appreciate to learn .

    Simphiwe N.Laura G. and 4 others like this

  • Michael TomlinsonMichael

    Michael Tomlinson

    Senior Director at TEQSA

    From what I recall, the research indicates that student evaluations have some value as a proxy and rough indicator of teacher effectiveness. We would expect that bad teachers will often get bad ratings, and good teachers will often get good ratings. Ratings for individual teachers should always be put in context, IMHO, for precisely the reasons that Daniel outlines.

    Aggregated ratings for teachers in departments or institutions can even out some of these factors, especially if you combine consideration with other indicators, such as progress rates.The hardest indicators however are drop-out rates and completion rates. When students vote with their feet this can flag significant problems. We have to bear in mind that students often drop out for personal reasons, but if your college’s drop-out rate is higher than your peers, this is worth investigating.

    phillip P.J.B. W. and 12 others like this

  • Rina SahayRina

    Rina Sahay

    Technical educator looking for a new opportunity or career direction

    I agree with what Michael says – to a point. Unfortunately student evaluations have also been used as a venue for disgruntled students, acting alone or in concert – a popularity contest of sorts. Even more unfortunately college administrations (especially for-profits) tend to rate Instructor effectiveness on the basis of student evaluations.

    IMHO, student evaluation questions need to be carefully crafted in order to be as objective as possible in order to eliminate the possibility of responses of an unprofessional nature. To clarify – a question like “Would you recommend this teacher to other students?” has the greatest potential for counter-productivity.

    Maria P.phillip P. and 6 others like this

  • Robert WhippleRobert

    Robert Whipple

    Chair, English Department at Creighton University

    No.

    Rina S.Elizabeth T. and 7 others like this

  • Dr. Virginia Stead, Ed.D.Dr. Virginia

    Dr. Virginia Stead, Ed.D.

    2013-2015 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. (New York) Founding Book Series Editor: Higher Education Theory, Policy, & Praxis

    This is not a Cartesian question in that the answer is neither yes nor no; it’s not about flipping a coin. One element that may make it more likely that student achievement is a result of teacher effectiveness is the comparison of cumulative or summative student achievement against incoming achievement levels. Another variable is the extent to which individual students are sufficiently resourced (such as having enough food, safety, shelter, sleep, learning materials) to benefit from the teacher’s beneficence.

    Bridget K.Simphiwe N. and 4 others like this

  • Barbara

    Barbara Celia

    Assistant Clinical Professor at Drexel University

    Depends on how the evaluation tool is developed. However, overall I do not believe they are effective in measuring teacher effectiveness.

    Jeremy W.Ronnie S. and 1 other like this

  • Sri YogamalarSri

    Sri Yogamalar

    Lecturer at MUSC, Malaysia

    Overall, I think students are the best judge of a teacher’s effective pedagogy methods. Although there may be students with different learning difficulties (as there usually is in a class), their understanding of the concepts/principles and application of the subject matter in exam questions, etc. depends on how the teacher imparts such knowledge in a rather simplified and easy manner to enhance analytical and critical thinking in them. Of course, there are students too who give a bad review of a teacher’s teaching mode out of spite just because the said teacher has reprimanded him/her in class for being late, for example, or for even being rude. In such a case, it would not be a true reflection of the teacher’s method of teaching. A teacher tries his/her best to educate and inculcate values by imparting the required knowledge and ensuring a 2-way teaching-learning process. It is the students who will be the best judge to evaluate and assess the success of the efforts undertaken by the teacher because it is they who are supposed to benefit at the end of the teaching exercise.

    Chunli W.Simphiwe N. and 2 others like this

  • Paul S HickmanPaul S

    Paul S Hickman

    Member of the Council of Trustees & Distinguished Mentor at Warnborough College, Ireland & UK

    No! No!

    Anne G.Maria P. and 2 others like this

  • Bonnie FoxBonnie

    Bonnie Fox

    Higher Education Copywriter

    In some cases, I think evaluations (and negative ones in particular) can offer a good perspective on the course, especially if an instructor is willing to review them with an open mind. Of course, there are always the students who nitpick and, as Rina said, use the eval as a chance to vent. But when an entire class complains about how an instructor has handled a course (as I once saw happen with a tutoring student whose fellow classmates were in agreement about the problems in the course), I think it should be taken seriously. But I also agree with Daniel about how evaluations should be viewed like a customer service survey for student satisfaction. Evals are only useful up to a point.

    I definitely agree about the way evaluations are worded, though, to make sure that it’s easier to recognize the useful information and weed out the whining.

    Maria P.Pierre H. and 4 others like this

  • Pierre HENONPierre

    Pierre HENON

    university teacher (professeur agrege)

    I am director of studies and students in continuing education are making evaluation of the teaching effectiveness. Because I am in an ISO process, I must take in account those measurements. It might be very difficult sometimes because the number of students does not reach the level required for the sample to be valid (in a statistic meaning). But in the meantime, I believe in the utility of such measurements. The hard job is for me when I have to discuss with the teacher who is under the required score.

    Simphiwe N.Maria P. like this

  • Maria PerssonMaria

    Maria Persson

    Senior Tutor – CeTTL – Student Learning & Digital/Technology Coach (U of W – Faculty of Education)

    I’m currently ‘filling in’ as the administrator in our Teaching Development Unit – Appraisals and I have come to appreciate that the evaluation tool of choice is only that – a tool. How the tool is used in terms of the objective for collecting ‘teaching effectiveness’ information, question types developed to gain insight of, and then how that info is acted upon to inform future teaching and learning will in many ways denote the quality of the teaching itself !

    Student voice is not just about keeping our jobs, ‘bums on seats’ or ‘talking with their feet’ (all part of it of course) but should be about whether or not we really care about learning. Student voice in the form of evaluating teachers’ effectiveness is critically essential if we want our teaching to model learning that affects positive change – Thomas More’s educational utopia comes to mind…

    Simphiwe N.Pierre H. and 4 others like this

  • David ShallenbergerDavid

    David Shallenberger

    Consultant and Professor of International Education

    Alas, I think they are weak indicators of teaching effectiveness, yet they are used often as the most important indicators of the same. And in the pursuit of high response rate, they are too often given the last day of class, when they cannot measure anything significant — before the learning has “sunk in.” Ask better questions, and ask the questions after students have had a chance to reflect on the learning.

    Barbara C.Pierre H. and 9 others like this

  • Cathryn McCormackCathryn

    Cathryn McCormack

    Lecturer (Teaching and Learning), and Belly Dance teacher

    I’m just wrapping up a very large project at my university that looked at policy, processes, systems and the instrument for collecting student feedback (taking a break from writing the report to write this comment). One thing that has struck me very clearly is that we need to reconceptualise SETs. de Vellis, in Scale Development, talks about how a scale generally has a higher validity if the respondent is asked to talk about their own experiences.

    Yet here we are asking students to not only comment on, but evaluate their teachers. What we really want students to do in class in concentrate on their learning – not on what the teacher is doing. If they are focussing on what the teacher is doing then something is not going right. The way we ask now seems even crazier when we consider the most sophisticated conception of teaching is to help students learn. So why aren’t we asking students about their learning?

    The standard format has something to do with it – it’s extremely difficult to ask interesting questions on learning when the wording must align with a 5 point Likert response scale. Despite our best efforts, I do not believe it is possible to prepare a truly student centred and learning centred questionnaire using this format.

    An alternate format I came across that I really liked (Modified PLEQ Devlin 2002, An Improved Questionnaire for Gathering Student Perceptions of Teaching and Learning), but no commercial evaluation software (which we are required to purchase) can do it. A few overarching questions sets the scene for the nature of the class, but the general question format goes: In [choose from drop down list] my learning was [helped/hindered] when [fill in the blank] because [fill in the blank]. The drop down list would include options such as lectures, seminars/tutorials, a private study situation, preparing essays, labs, field trip, etc. After completing one question the student has the option to fill in another … and another … and another … for as long as they want.

    Think about what information we could actually get on student learning if we we started asking like this! No teacher ratings, all learning. The only number that would emerge would be the #helped and the #hindered.

    Maria P.Pierre H. and 6 others like this

  • Hans TilstraHans

    Hans Tilstra

    Senior Coordinator, Learning and Teaching

    Keep in mind “Goodhart’s Law” – When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

    For example, if youth unemployment figures become the main measure, governments may be tempted to go for the low hanging fruit, the short term (eg. a work for the dole stick to steer unemployed people into study or the army).

    Punita S.Laura G. and 2 others like this

  • robert easterbrookrobert

    robert easterbrook

    Education Management Professional

    Nope.

    Catherine W.Anne G. like this

  • John StanburyJohn

    John Stanbury

    Professor at Singapore Institute of Management

    I totally agree with most of the comments here. I find student evaluations to be virtually meaningless as measures of a teachers’ effectiveness. They are measures of student perception NOT of learning. Yet university administrators eg Deans, Dept chairs, persist in using them to evaluate faculty performance in the classroom to the point where many instructors have had their careers torn apart. Its an absolute disgrace!! But no one seems to care! That’s the sick thing about it!

    Ronnie S.Maria P. and 4 others like this

  • Simon YoungSimon

    Simon Young

    Programme Coordinator, Pharmacy

    Satisfaction cannot be simply correlated with teaching quality. The evidence is that students are most “satisfied” with courses that support a surface learning approach – what the student “needs to know” to pass the course. Where material and delivery is challenging, this generates less crowd approval but, conversely, is more likely to be “good teaching” as this supports deep learning.

    Our challenge is to achieve deep learning and still generate rave satisfaction reviews. If any reader has the magic recipe, I would be pleased to learn of it.

    joe O.Maria P. and 4 others like this

  • Laura GabigerLaura

    Laura Gabiger

    Professor at Johnson & Wales University

    Top Contributor

    Maybe it is about time we started calling it what it is and got Michelin to develop the star rating system for our universities.

    Nevertheless I appreciate everyone’s thoughtful comments. Muvaffak, I agree with you about the importance and also the difficulty of measuring student learning. Cathryn, thank you for taking a break from your project to give us an overview.

    My story: the best professor and mentor in my life (I spent a total of 21 years as a student in higher education), the professor from whom I learned indispensable and enduring habits of thought that have become more important with each passing year, was one whom the other graduate students in my first term told me–almost unanimously– to avoid at all costs.

    Jeremy W.Maria P. and 1 other like this

  • Dr. Pedro L. MartinezDr. Pedro L.

    Dr. Pedro L. Martinez

    Former Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Winston Salem State University & President of HigherEd SC.

    I am not sure that course evaluations based on one snap shot measure “teacher effectiveness”. For various reasons, some ineffective teachers get good ratings by pandering to the lowest level of intellectual laziness. However, consistently looking at comments and some other measures may yield indicators of teachers who are unprepared, do not provide feedback, do not adhere to a syllabus of record, and do not respect students in general. I think part of that information is based how questions are crafted.

    I believe that a self evaluation of instructor over a period of a semester could yield invaluable information. Using a camera and other devices, ask the instructor to take snap shots of their teaching/ learning in the classroom over a period of time and then ask for a self-evaluation. For the novice teacher that information could be evaluated by senior faculty and assist the junior faculty to improve his/her delivery. Many instructors are experts in their field but lack exposure to different methods of instructional delivery. I would like to see a taxonomy of a scale that measures the instructor’s ability using lecture as the base of instruction and moving up to levels of problem based learning, service learning, undergraduate research by gauging the different pedagogies (pedagogy, androgogy heutagogy, paragogy etc. that engage students in active learning.

    Dvora P.Maria P. and 1 other like this

  • Steve CharlierSteve

    Steve Charlier

    Assistant Professor at Quinnipiac University

    I wanted to piggyback on Cathryn’s comment above, and align myself with how many of you seem to feel about student evaluations. The quantitative part of student evals are problematic, for all of the reasons mentioned already. But the open-ended feedback that is (usually) a part of student evaluations is where I believe some real value can be gained, both for administrative purposes and for instructor development.

    When allowed to speak freely, what are students saying? Are they lamenting a particular aspect of the course/instructor? Is that one area coloring their response across all questions? These are all important considerations, and provide a much richer source of information for all involved.

    Sadly, the quantitative data is what most folks gravitate to, simply because it’s standardized and “easy”. I don’t believe that student evaluations are a complete waste of time, but I do think that we tend to focus on the wrong information. And, of course, this ignores the issues of timing and participation rates that are probably another conversation altogether!

    Dvora P.Sonu S. and 4 others like this

  • robert easterbrookrobert

    robert easterbrook

    Education Management Professional

    ‘What the Student Does: teaching for enhanced learning’ by John Biggs in Higher Education Research & Development, Vol. 18, No. 1, 1999.

    “The deep approach refers to activities that are appropriate to handling the task so that an appropriate outcome is achieved. The surface approach is therefore to be discouraged, the deep approach encouraged – and that is my working definition of good teaching. Learning is thus a way of interacting with the world. As we learn, our conceptions of phenomena change, and we see the world differently. The acquisition of information in itself does not bring about such a change, but the way we structure that information and think with it does. Thus, education is about conceptual change, not just the acquisition of information.” (p. 60)

    This is the approach higher education is trying adapt to at the moment, as far as I’m aware.

    Jeremy W.Adrian M. like this

  • Cindy KenkelCindy

    Cindy Kenkel

    Northwest Missouri State University

    My Human Resource students will focus on this issue in a class debate “Should student evaluation data significantly impact faculty tenure and promotion decisions?” One side will argue “yes, it provides credible data that should be one of the most important elements” and the other group will argue against this based on much of what has been said above. They will say student evaluations are basically a popularity contest and faculty may actually be dumbing down their classes in order to get higher ratings.

    To what extent is student data used in faculty tenure and promotion decisions at your institutions?

  • yasir

    yasir hayat

    Faculty member at institute of management sciences,peshawar

    NO

  • yasir

    yasir hayat

    Faculty member at institute of management sciences,peshawar

    NO

  • joe othmanjoe

    joe othman

    Associate Professor at Institute of Education, IIUM

    Agree with Pierre, when the number of students responding is not what is expected; then what?

  • joe othmanjoe

    joe othman

    Associate Professor at Institute of Education, IIUM

    Cindy; it is used in promotion decision in my university, but only a small percentage of the total points. Yet this issue is still a thorny one for some faculty

  • Sonu SardaSonu

    Sonu Sarda

    Lecturer at University of Southern Queensland

    How open are we? Is learning about the delivery of a subject only or bulding on soft skills as well?So if we as teachers are facilitating learning in a conducive manner ,would it not lead to an average TE at the least &thus indicate our teaching effectiveness at the base level. Indeed qualitative approach would be far better an approach, if we intend to accomplish the actual purpose of TE i.e Reflection for continual improvement.More and more classrooms are becoming learner centered and to accomplish this learners ‘say’ is vital.
    Some students using these as platforms for personal whims, must not be a concern for many, since the TE are averaged out .Of course last but not the least TEs are like dynamites and must be handled by experts.These are one of the means of assessing the gaps,if any, between the teaching and learning strategies. These must not be used for performance evaluation.If at all, then all the other factors such as the number of students,absenteeism,pass rate rather HD & D rates over a period of minimum three terms must also be included alongside.

  • Dvora PeretsDvora

    Dvora Perets

    Teaching colleague at Ben Gurion University of the Negev

    I implement a semester long self evaluation process in all my mathematics courses. Students gets 3 points (out of 100) for anonymously filling an online questionnaire online every week . They rate (1-5) their personal class experience (I was bored -I was fascinated, I understood nothing- I understood everything, The tutorials sessions didn’t-did help, I visited Lecturer’s/TA’s office hours, I spent X hours of self learning this week). They can also add verbal comments.
    I started it 10 years ago when I built a new special course, to help me “hear” the students (80-100 in each class) and to better adjust myself and the content to my new students. I used to publish a weekly respond to the verbal comments, accepting some and rejecting others while making sure to explain and justify any decision of mine.
    Not only that it helped me improve my teaching and the course but it turned out that it actually created a very solid perception of me as a caring teacher. I always was a very caring teacher (some of my colleagues accuse me of being over caring…) but it seems that “forcing” my student to give feedback along all the semester kind of “brought it out” to the open.

    I am still using long-semester feedback in all my courses and I consider both quantitative and qualitative responds. It helps me see that the majority of students understand me in class. I ignore those who choose “I understand nothing” – obviously if they were indeed understanding “nothing” they would have not come to class… (they can choose “I didn’t participate” or “I don’t wont to answer”)
    I ignore all verbal comments that aim to “punish” me and I change things when I think students r right.
    Finally, being a math lecturer for non-major students is extremely hard, both academically and emotionally. Most students are not willing to do what is needed in order to understand the abstract/complicated concepts and processes.
    Only few (“courageous “) students will attribute their lack of understanding to the fact that they did not attend all classes, or that they weren’t really focused on learning, (probably they spend a lot of time in “Facebook” during class..), or that they didn’t go over class notes at home and come to office hours when they didn’t understand something etc.
    I am encouraged by the fact that about 2/3 of the students that attend classes state they “understood enough” and above (3-5) all semester long. This is especially important as only 40-50% of the students fill the formal end of the semester SE and I bet u can guess how the majority of of them will rate my performance. Students fill SE before the final exam but (again) u can guess how 2 midterms with about 24% failures will influence their evaluation of my teaching.

    Cathryn M.Steve C. and 3 others like this

  • Michael TomlinsonMichael

    Michael Tomlinson

    Senior Director at TEQSA

    I think it’s important to avoid defensive responses to the question. Most participants have assumed that we are talking about individual teachers being assessed through questionnaires, and I share everyone’s reservations about that. I entirely agree that deep learning is what we need to go for, but given the huge amounts of public money that are poured into our institutions, we need to have some way of evaluating whether what we are doing is effective or whether it isn’t.

    I’m not impressed by institutions that are obsessed only with evaluation by numbers. However, there is some merit in monitoring aggregated statistics over time and detecting statistically significant variations. If average satisfaction rates in Engineering have gone down every year for five years shouldn’t we try and find out why? If satisfaction rates in Architecture have gone up every year for five years wouldn’t it be interesting to know if they have been doing something to bring that about that might be worthwhile? It might turn out to be a statistical artifact, but we need to inquire into it, and bring the same arts of critical inquiry to bear on the evidence that we use in our scholarship and research.

    But I always encourage faculties and institutions to supplement this by actually getting groups of students together and talking to them about their student experience as well. Qualitative responses can be more valuable than quantitative surveys. We might actually learn something!

    Laura G.yasir H. and 2 others like this

  • Aleardo

    Aleardo Manacero

    Associate Professor at UNESP – São Paulo State University

    As everyone here I also think that these evaluation forms do not truly measure teaching effectiveness. This is a quite hard thing to evaluate, since the effect of learning will be felt several years later, while performing their job duties.

    Besides that, some observations made by students are interesting for our own growth. I usually get these through informal talks with the class or even some students.

    In another direction, some of the previous comments are addressing deep/surface learning basically stating that deep learning is the right way to go. I have to disagree with this for some of the contents that have to be taught. In my case (teaching to computer science majors) it is important, for example, that every student have a surface knowledge about operating systems design, but those who are going to work as database analysts do not need to know the deep concepts involved with that (the same is true for database concepts for a network analyst…). So, surface learning has also its relevance in the professional formation.

    Jeremy W.Sonu S. like this

  • George ChristodoulidesGeorge

    George Christodoulides

    Senior Consultant and Lecturer at university of nicosia

    The usefulness of Student evaluations, like all similar surveys, is closely linked to the particular questions they are asked to answer. There are the objective-type/factual questions such as “Does he start class on time” or “does he speak clearly” and the very personal questions such as “does he give fair grades”… The effectiveness of a Teacher could be more appropriately linked to suitably phrased question, such as “has he motivated you to learn” and “how much have you bebnefited from the course”. The responses to these questions could, also, be further assessed by comparison with the final grades given to that particular course with the performance of the class in the other courses they have taken..during that semester. So, for assessing Teacher Effectiveness, one needs to ask relevant questions. and perform the appropriate evaluations..

  • Laura GabigerLaura

    Laura Gabiger

    Professor at Johnson & Wales University

    Top Contributor

    Michael has an excellent point that some accountability of institutions and programs is appropriate, and that aggregated data or qualitative results can be useful in assessing whether the teaching in a particular program is accomplishing what it sets out to do. Many outcomes studies are set up to measure the learning in an aggregated way.

    We may want to remember that our present conventions of teaching evaluation had their roots in the 1970s (in California, if I remember correctly), partly as a response to a system in which faculty, both individually and collectively, were accountable to no one. I recall my student days when a professor in a large public research institution would consider it an intrusion and a personal affront to be asked to supply a course syllabus.

    As the air continues to leak out of the USA’s higher education bubble, as the enrollments drop and the number of empty seats rises, it seems inevitable that institutions will feel the pressure to offer anything to make the students perceive their experience as positive. It may be too hard to make learning–often one of the most uncomfortable experiences in life–the priority. Faculty respond defensively because we are continually put in the position of defending ourselves, often by poorly-designed quantitative instruments that address every kind of feel-good hotel concierge aspect of classroom management while overlooking learning.

    John S. likes this

  • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

    Sethuraman Jambunatha

    Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

    The evaluation of faculty by the students is welcome. The statistics of information can be looked into to a certain degree of objectivity. An instructor strict with his/her students may be ranked low in spite of being an asset to the department. A ‘free-lance’ teacher with students may be placed higher despite being a poor teacher. At any rate the HoD’s duty is to observe the quality of all teachers and his objective evaluation is final. The parents feed-back is also to be taken. Actually
    teaching is a multi-dimensional task and students evaluation is just one co-ordinate only.

  • Edwin

    Edwin Herman

    Associate Professor at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point

    Student evaluations are a terrible tool for measuring teacher effectiveness. They do measure student satisfaction, and to some extent the measure student *perception* of teacher effectiveness. But the effectiveness of a teaching method or of an instructor is poorly correlated with student satisfaction: while there are positive linkages between the two concepts, students are generally MORE satisfied by an easy course that makes them feel good than by a hard course that makes them have to really think and work (and learn).

    Students like things that are flashy, and things that are easy more than they like things that require a lot of work or things that force them to rethink their core values. Certainly there are students who value a challenge, but even those students may not recognize which teacher gave them a better course.

    Student evaluations can be used effectively to help identify very poor teaching. But it is useless to distinguish between adequate and good teaching practices.

    John S. likes this

  • Cesar GranadosCesar

    Cesar Granados

    ex Vicerrector Administrativo en Universidad Nacional de San Cristóbal de Huamanga

    César S. Granados
    Retired Professor from The National University of San Cristóbal de Huamanga
    Ayacucho, PERÚ

    Since teaching effectiveness is a function of teacher competencies, an effective teacher is able to use the existing competencies to achieve the desired student´s results; but, student´s performance mainly depends of his commitment to achieve competencies.

  • Steve KaczmarekSteve

    Steve Kaczmarek

    Professor at Columbus State Community College

    The student evaluations I’ve seen are more like customer satisfaction surveys, and in this respect, there is less helpful information for the instructor to improve his or her craft and instead more feedback about whether or not the student liked the experience. Shouldn’t their learning and/or improving skills be at least as important? I’m not arguing that these concepts are mutually exclusive, but the evaluations are often written to privilege one over the other.

    There are other problems. Using the same evaluation tool for very different kinds of courses (lecture versus workshop, for instance) doesn’t make a lot of sense. Evaluation language is often vague and puzzling in what it rewards (one evaluation form asks “Was the instructor enthusiastic?” Would an instructor bursting with smiles and enthusiasm but who is disorganized and otherwise less effective be privileged over one who is low-key but nonetheless covers the material effectively?). The “halo effect” can distort findings, where, among other things, more attractive instructors can get higher marks.

    Given how many times I’ve heard from students about someone being their favorite instructor because he or she was easy, I question the criteria students may use when evaluating. Instructors are also told that evaluations are for their benefit to improve teaching ability, but then chairs and administrators use them in promotion and hiring decisions.

    I think if the evaluation tool is sound, it can be useful to helping instructors. But, lastly, I think of my own experiences as a student, where I may have disliked or even resented some instructors because they challenged me or pushed me out of my comfort zone to learn new skills or paradigms. I may have evaluated them poorly at the time, only to come to learn a few years later with greater maturity that they not only taught me well, but taught me something invaluable, and perhaps more so than the instructors I liked. In this respect, it would be more fair to those instructors for me to fill out an evaluation a few years later to accurately describe their teaching.

  • Diane

    Diane Halm

    Adjunct Professor of Writing at Niagara University

    Wow, there are so many valid points raised; so many considerations. In general, I tend to agree with those who believe it gauges student satisfaction more than learning, though there is a correlation between the two. After 13 years as an adjunct at a relatively small, private college, I have found that engagement really is what many students long for. It seems far less about the final grades earned and more about the tools they’ve acquired. It should be mentioned that I teach developmental level composition, and while almost no student earns an A, most feel they have learned much:)

    Pierre H. likes this

  • Nira HativaNira

    Nira Hativa

    Former director, center for the advancement of teaching at Tel Aviv University

    Student ratings of instruction (SRI) do not measure teaching effectiveness but rather student satisfaction from instruction (as some previous comments on this list suggest). However there is a substantial research evidence for the relationships between SRIs and some agreed-upon measures of good teaching and of student learning. This research is summarized in much detail in my recent book:
    Student Ratings of Instruction: A Practical Approach to Designing, Operating, and Reporting (220 pp.) https://www.createspace.com/4065544
    ISBN-13:978-1481054331

    Michael T.Diane H. and 1 other like this

  • robert easterbrookrobert

    robert easterbrook

    Education Management Professional

    Learning is not about what the teacher does, it is about what the learner does.

    Do not confuse the two.

    Learning is what the learner does with what the teacher teaches.

    If you think that learning is all about what the teacher does, then the SRI will mislead and deceive.

    Adrian M.David Shallenberger and 1 other like this

  • Sami SamraSami

    Sami Samra

    Associate Professor at Notre Dame University – Louaize

    Evaluation, in all its forms, is a complex exercise that needs both knowledge and skill. Further, evaluation can best be achieved through a variety of instruments. We know all of this as teachers. Question is how knowledgeable are our students regarding the teaching/learning process. More, how knowledgeable are our administrators in translating information collected from questionnaires (some of which are validity-questionable) into plausible data-based decisions. I agree that students should have a say in how their courses are being conducted. But to use their feedback, quantitatively, to evaluate university professors… I fear that I must hold a very skeptical stand towards such evaluation.

    John S. likes this

  • Joseph Lennox, Ph.D.Joseph

    Joseph Lennox, Ph.D.

    Consultant & Training Development Specialist at Lennox Consulting, LLC j.r.lennox.consulting@gmail.com

    Top Contributor

    Quite an interesting topic, and I’m reminded of the ancient proverb, “Parts is not parts.” OK, maybe that was McDonalds. This conversation would make a very thoughtful manuscript.

    Courses is not courses. Which course will be more popular, “Contemporary Music” or “General Chemistry?”

    Search any university using the following keywords “really easy course [university].” Those who teach these courses are experts at what they do, and what they do is valuable, however the workload for the student is minimal.

    The major issues: (1) popularity is inversely proportional to workload; and (2) the composition of the questions appearing on course and professor evaluations (CAPEs).

    “What grade do you expect in this class? Instructor explains course material well? Lectures hold your attention?”

    If Sally gets to listen to Nickleback in class and then next period learn quantum mechanics, which course does one suppose best held her attention?

    A person about to receive a C- in General Chemistry is probably receiving that C- because s/he was never able to understand the material for lack of striving, and probably hates the subject. That person is very likely to have never visited the professor during office hours for help. Logically one might expect low approval ratings from such a scenario.

    A person about to receive an A in General Chemistry is getting that A because s/he worked his/her tail off. S/he was able to comprehend mostly everything the professor said, and most probably liked the course. Even more, s/he probably visited the professor during office hours several times for feedback.

    One might argue that the laws of statistics will work in favor of reality, however that’s untrue when only 20% of students respond to CAPEs. Those who respond either love the professor or hate the professor. There’s usually no middle ground. Add this to internet anonymity, and the problem is compounded. I am aware of multiple studies conducted by universities indicating high correlation between written CAPEs and electronic CAPEs, however I’d like to bring up one point.

    Think of the last time you raised your voice to a customer service rep on the phone. Would you have raised your voice to that rep in person?

    There’s not enough space to comment on all the variables involved in CAPE numerical responses. As of last term I stopped paying attention to the numbers and focused exclusively on the comments. There’s a lot of truth in most of the comments.

    I would like to see the following experiment performed. Take a group of 10,000 students. Record their CAPE responses prior to receiving their final grade. Three weeks later, have them re-CAPE. One year later, have them re-CAPE again. Two years. Three years. Finally, have them re-CAPE after getting a job.

    Many students don’t know what a professor did for them until semesters or years down the road. They’re likely to realize how good of a teacher the professor was by their performance in future courses in the same subject requiring cumulative mastery.

    Do I think student evaluations measure teaching effectiveness? CAPEs is not CAPEs.

    Ronnie S.Sonu S. like this

  • Anne GardnerAnne

    Anne Gardner

    Senior Lecturer at University of Technology Sydney

    No, of course they don’t.

  • Christa van StadenChrista

    Christa van Staden

    Owner of AREND.co, a professional learning community for educators

    No, it does not. Efficiency in class room should be measured by the results of students, their attitude towards students and the quality of their preparation. I worked with a man who told a story about the different hats and learning and thought that was a new way of looking at learning. To my utmost shock my colleague, who sat because he had to say something, told me that he did it exactly the same, same jokes, etc, when he did the course five years ago. For real – nothing changed, no new technology, no new insights. no learning happened over a period of five years, nothing? And he is rated very high – head of a new wing. Who rated him? How? And why did it not effect his teaching at all?

  • Mat Jizat AbdolMat Jizat

    Mat Jizat Abdol

    Chief Executive at Institut Sains @ Teknologi Darul Takzim ( INSTEDT)

    If we are looking for quality, we have to get information about our performance.in the lecture room. There are 6 elements normally being practice. They are: 1.Teaching Plan of lecture contents 2.Teaching Delivery 3.Fair and systematic of evaluation on student’s work 4. Whether the Teaching follows the semester plan.5. Whether the lecturer follows the T-Table and always on time of their lecturer hours and lastly is the Relationship between lecturer and students.

  • orlando mcallisterorlando

    orlando mcallister

    Department Head – Communications/Mathematics

    Do we need to be reminded that educators were students at one time or the other? So why not have students evaluate the performance of a teacher? After all, the students are contributing to their own investment in what is significant for survival; and whether it is effective towards career development to attain their full potential as a human sentient being towards the greater good of humanity; anything else falls short of human progress in a tiny rotating planet cycling through the solar system with destination unknown! Welcome to the ‘Twilight Zone.”

    Would you rather educate a student to make a wise decision to accept 10 gallons of water in a desert? Or accept a $1 million check that further creates mirages and illusory dreams of success?

  • Stephen RobertsonStephen

    Stephen Robertson

    Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University

    I think what my students say about me is important. I’m most interested in the comments they make and have used these to pilot other ideas or adjust my approach.

    I’ve had to learn to not beat myself up about a few bad comments or get carried away with a few good ones.

    I also use the assessment results to see if the adjustments made have had the intended impact. I use the VLE logs as well to see how engaged the students are with the materials and what tools they use and when.

    I find the balance keeps me grounded. I want my students to do well and have fun. The dashboard on your car has multiple measures. Why should teaching be different? Like the car I listen for strange noises and look out the window to make sure I’m still on the road.

    Jeremy W. likes this

  • Allan SheppardAllan

    Allan Sheppard

    Lecturer/tutor/PhD student at Griffith University

    I think that most student evaluations are only reaction measures and not true evaluation of learning outcome or teaching effectiveness – and often evaluations are tainted if the student get a lower mark than anticipated
    I think these types of evaluation are only indicative — and should not really be used to measure teacher/teaching effectiveness – and should not be allowed to affect teachers’ careers
    I note Stephen’s point about multiple measures — unfortunately most evaluations are quick and dirty — and certainly do not provide multiple measures

    Jeremy W.John S. like this

  • Allan SheppardAllan

    Allan Sheppard

    Lecturer/tutor/PhD student at Griffith University

    interestingly most student evaluations are anonymous – so the student can say what he/she likes and not have to face scrutiny

    George C. likes this

  • Olga

    Olga Kuznetsova

    No, students’evaluations cannot fully measure teaching effectiveness.
    However,for the relationship to be mutually beneficial, you have to accept their judgement on the matter, Unfortunately a Unique teacher for all categories (types) of students does not exist in our dynamic world.

    George C. likes this

  • Penny PaliadelisPenny

    Penny Paliadelis

    Professor, Executive Dean, Faculty of Health, Federation University Australia

    Student evaluations are merely popularity contests, they tempt academics to ‘ dumb down’ the content in order to be liked and evaluated positively…this is a dangerous and slippery slope then can result in graduates being ill-prepared for the professions and industries they seek to enter.

    Kathleen C.John S. like this

  • Robson Chiambiro (MBA, MSc, MEd.)Robson

    Robson Chiambiro (MBA, MSc, MEd.)

    PRINCE 2 Registered Practitioner at Higher Colleges of Technology

    In my opinion the student-teacher evaluations are measuring popularity as others suggested but the problem is that some of the questions and intentions of assesing are not fulfilled due to the use of wrong questioning. I have never seen in the instruments a question asking students of their expectations from the teacher and the course as such. To me that is more important than to ask if the student likes the teaching style which students do not know anyway. Teachers who give any test before the assessment are likely to get low ratings than those who give tests soon after the evaluation.

  • Chris GarbettChris

    Chris Garbett

    Principal Lecturer Leeds Metropolitan University

    I agree with other contributors. The evaluations are akin to a satisfaction survey. Personally, if, for example, I stay at an hotel, I only fill in the satisfaction survey if something is wrong. If the service is as I expect, I don’t bother with the survey.

    I feel also that students rate the courses or modules on a popularity basis. A module on a course may be enjoyable, or fun, but not necessarily better taught than another subject with a less entertaining subject.

    Unfortunately, everyone seems to think that the student evaluations are the main criteria by which to judge a course.

    Olga K. likes this

  • Steve BentonSteve

    Steve Benton

    Senior Research Officer, The IDEA Center

    First of all, it would help if we stop referring to them as “student” or “course” evaluations. Students are not qualified to evaluate. That is what administrators are paid to do. However, students are qualified to provide feedback to instructors and administrators about their perceptions of what occurred in the class and of how much they believe they learned. How can that not be valuable information, especially for developmental purposes about how to teach more effectively? Evaluation is not an event that happens at the end of a course–it is an ongoing process that requires multiple indicators of effectiveness (e.g., student ratings of the course, peer evaluations, administrator evaluations, course design, student products). By triangulating that combination of evidence, administrators and faculty can then make informed judgments and evaluate.

    Olga K. likes this

  • Eytan FichmanEytan

    Eytan Fichman

    Lecturer at Hanoi Architectural University

    The student / teacher relationship around the subject matter is a ‘triangle.’ The character of the triangle has a lot to do with a student’s reception of the of the material and the teacher.

    The Student:
    The well-prepared student and the intrinsically motivated student can more readily thrive in the relationship. If s/he is thriving s/he may be more inclined to rate the teacher highly. The poorly prepared student or the student who requires motivation from ‘outside’ is much less likely to thrive and more likely to rate a teacher poorly.

    The Teacher:
    The well-prepared teacher and the intrinsically motivated teacher can more readily thrive in the relationship. If s/he is thriving students may be more inclined to rate the teacher highly. The poorly prepared teacher or the teacher who requires motivation from ‘outside’ is much less likely to thrive and more likely to achieve poor teacher ratings.

    The Subject Matter:
    The content and form of the subject matter are crucial, especially in their relation to the student and teacher.

  • Daniel GoecknerDaniel

    Daniel Goeckner

    Education Professonal

    Student evaluations do not measure teaching effectiveness. I have been told I walk on water and am the worst teacher ever. The major difference was the level of student participation. The more they participated the better I was.

    What I use them for is a learning tool. I take the comments apart looking for snippets that I can use to improve my teaching.

    I have been involved in a portfolio program the past two years. One consist is the better the measured outcomes, the worse the student reviews.

    • Dr. Pedro L. MartinezDr. Pedro L.

      Dr. Pedro L. Martinez

      Former Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Winston Salem State University & President of HigherEd SC.

      Steve,
      Have you ever been part of a tenure or promotion committee evaluation process? In my 35 years of experience, faculty members do not operate in that ideal smooth linear trajectory that you have described. On the contrary, they partition evaluations into categories and look at student course evaluations as the evidence of an instructor’s ability to teach. However, faculty can choose which evaluations they can submit and what comments they want to include as part of the record. I have never seen “negative comments” as evidence of “ineffective teaching”. The five point scale is used and whenever that falls below a 3.50, it becomes a great concern for our colleagues!

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Sethuraman JambunathaSethuraman

      Sethuraman Jambunatha

      Dean (I & E) at Vinayaka Mission

      There are many other ways of asserting the faculty by the peer group. There can be a weekly seminar and faculty members are expected to give a seminar and other faculty members and students are the audience. This measures how much interest a faculty has in some chosen areas. The Chair (HoD) can talk to some selected students (chosen as representing highly motivated/average/take easy) and reach a decision for tenure-track. As I said earlier the students’ evaluation can be one of many aspects. In my own experience other (senior) faculty evaluation is many times detrimental to the progress of junior faculty. But one ask the HoD is the senior most: but one thing is clear, the chair of the ‘Chair’ has some ‘vision’ and transcends discrimination and partisan feelings. In India we call: “(Sar)Panch me Parameshwar rahtha hai”, meaning: On the position of Judge, God dwells (sits). Think of Becket and the King Henry II. As archbishop, Rev. Thomas Becket was a completely changes person fully submerged in divinity order. So the Chair is supremo. Students evaluation is just

    • Susan WrightSusan

      Susan Wright

      Assistant Professor at Clarkson University

      Amazing how things work…I’m actually in the process of framing out a research project related to this very question. Does anyone have any suggestions for specific papers I should look at i.e. literature related to the topic?

      With respect to your question, I believe the answer depends on the questions that get asked.

    • Sarah LowengardSarah

      Sarah Lowengard

      Researcher, Writer, Editor, Consultant (history, technology, art, sciences)

      I fall on the “no” side too.

      The school-derived questionnaires nearly always ask the wrong questions, for one.

      I’ve always thought students should wait some years (3-20) before providing feedback, because the final day of class is too recent to do a good assessment.

      David Shallenberger likes this

    • Jeremy

      Jeremy Wickins

      Open University Coursework Consultant, Research Methods

      I’m quite late to the topic here, and much of what I think has been said by others. There is a difference between the qualitative and quantitative aspects of student evaluations – I am always fascinated to find out what my students (and peers, of course, though that is a different topic) do/do not think I am doing well so I can learn and adapt my teaching. For this reason, I prefer a more continuous student evaluation than the questionnaire at the end of the course – if I need to adapt to a particular group, I need the information sooner rather than later.

      However, the quantitative side means nothing unless it is tied back to hard data on how the students did in their assessments – an unpopular teacher can still be a *good* teacher of the subject at hand! And the subject matter counts a lot – merely teaching an unpopular but compulsory subject (public law, for instance!) tends to make the teacher initially unpopular in the minds of students – a type of shooting the messenger.

      Teaching isn’t a beauty contest – these metrics need to be used in the right way, and combined with other data if they are to say anything about the teaching.

    • Dr. James R. MartinDr. James R.

      Dr. James R. Martin

      Professor Emeritus

      I wrote a paper about this issue a few years ago. Briefly, the thrust of my argument is that student opinions should not be used as the basis for evaluating teaching effectiveness because these aggregated opinions are invalid measures of quality teaching, provide no empirical evidence in this regard, are incomparable across different courses and different faculty members, promote faculty gaming and competition, tend to distract all participants and observers from the learning mission of the university, and insure the sub-optimization and further decline of the higher education system. Using student opinions to evaluate, compare and subsequently rank faculty members represents a severe form of a problem Deming referred to as a deadly disease of western style management. The theme of the alternative approach is that learning on a program-wide basis should be the primary consideration in the evaluation of teaching effectiveness. Emphasis should shift from student opinion surveys to the development and assessment of program-wide learning outcomes. To achieve this shift in emphasis, the university performance measurement system needs to be redesigned to motivate faculty members to become part of an integrated learning development and assessment team, rather than a group of independent contractors competing for individual rewards.

      Martin, J. R. 1998. Evaluating faculty based on student opinions: Problems, implications and recommendations from Deming’s theory of management perspective. Issues in Accounting Education (November): 1079-1094. http://maaw.info/ArticleSummaries/ArtSumMartinSet98.htm

      Barbara C. likes this

    • Joseph Lennox, Ph.D.Joseph

      Joseph Lennox, Ph.D.

      Consultant & Training Development Specialist at Lennox Consulting, LLC j.r.lennox.consulting@gmail.com

      Top Contributor

      There appears to be general agreement that the answer to the proposed question is “No.”

      The next logical step in the discussion would appear to be, “How would you effectively measure teacher effectiveness?”

      With large enrollment classes, one avenue is here:

      http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/10/11/way-produce-more-information-about-instructors-effectiveness-essay

      So, how should teacher effectiveness be measured?

      Jeremy W.Olga K. like this

    • Ron MelchersRon

      Ron Melchers

      Professor of Criminology, University of Ottawa

      Top Contributor

      To inform this discussion, I would highly recommend this research review done for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. It’s a pretty balanced and well-informed treatment of student course (and teacher) evaluations:http://www.heqco.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/Student%20Course%20Evaluations_Research,%20Models%20and%20Trends.pdf

      Joseph L.Ken R. like this

    • Ron MelchersRon

      Ron Melchers

      Professor of Criminology, University of Ottawa

      Top Contributor

      Just to add my own two cents (two and a half Canadian cents at this point), I think students have much of value to tell us about their experience in our courses and classes, information that we can use to improve their learning and become more effective teachers. They are also able to inform academic administrators of the degree to which teachers fulfill their basic duties and perform the elementary tasks they are assigned. They have far less to tell us about the value of what they’re learning to their future, their professions … and they are perhaps not the best qualified to identify effective learning and teaching techniques and methods. Those sorts of things are better assessed by knowledgeable, expert professional and academic peers.

      David Shallenberger likes this

    • Barbara

      Barbara Celia

      Assistant Clinical Professor at Drexel University

      Thank you, Ron. A great deal of info but worth reading and analyzing.

    • Prof. Ravindra Kumar

      Prof. Ravindra Kumar Raghuvanshi

      Member of Academic committees of some Universities & Retd.Prof.,Dept.of Botany,University of Rajasthan,Jaipur.

      Student rating system may not necessarily be a reliable method to assess the teaching
      effeciveness,because it depends upon individual grasping/understanding power, intelligence
      and study tendency A teacher does his/her job well, but how many students understand
      it well. It is reflected invariably in the marks obtained by them.

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