Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Flawed Evaluations

Inside Higher Ed
June 10th, 2015


They’re almost universally loathed by professors as being too subjective and an unreliable indicator of performance. But beyond that, surprisingly little is known about student evaluations of faculty teaching. How many colleges require them, and what do they ask? How many students complete them, and what effect do they have on instructors’ careers?
A committee of the American Association of University Professors wanted to help answer some of the questions, and help stir discussions about a better way to rate professors in the classroom. Survey responses gathered by the committee from some 9,000 professors suggest diminishing student response rates for course evaluations, too much focus on such evaluations alone in personnel decisions -- especially for non-tenure-track faculty -- and a creep of the kinds of personal comments seen on teacher rating websites into formal evaluations.
But while the committee argues that whatever value student evaluations ever had is shrinking, it says student surveys can play an important role in a more holistic faculty evaluation system.

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