Monday, June 15, 2015

Everyone Complains About Evaluations. A Nobel Laureate Offers an Alternative.

The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 15th, 2015

The list of complaints about how colleges conduct course evaluations is long and seems to keep getting longer. A survey released last week of thousands of professors by the American Association of University Professors found that student evaluations are losing much of the value they once had. Earlier research already showed that student evaluations failed to adequately describe teaching quality, and often reflected judgments about an instructor’s appearance. But if not student evaluations, what should colleges use to judge the effectiveness of teaching?
Carl E. Wieman, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist and professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, says he may have found an answer. In a paper published recently in Change magazine, Mr. Wieman suggests another form of evaluation: judging professors based on an inventory of their teaching practices. The ultimate measure of teaching quality, he argues, is the extent to which professors use practices associated with better student outcomes.

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