Tuesday, June 16, 2015

How to Use Student Evaluations Wisely

The Chronicle of Higher Education
June 16th, 2015



When I was a doctoral student, nervously facing my first set of student evaluations, I turned for advice to my father, who was already a professor when those evaluations were first introduced. “We should be polling students to see what they thought of our classes,” he insisted. “Of course, their evaluations can’t signify the be-all and end-all for what constitutes effective teaching.” His position sounded sensible to me then -- and still does, now that I am a dean.
And yet -- as Stacey Patton’s recent essay, “Student Evaluations: Feared, Loathed, and Not Going Anywhere,” demonstrates -- many administrators make the mistake of using those evaluations as the sole, definitive, and objective measure of teacher quality.
I’m well aware that the value of student evaluations is contested, but like my father, I’ve also found that they can be useful tools. At my own institution, I inherited a nuanced set of faculty-designed guidelines on the use of student evals.

When I was a doctoral student, nervously facing my first set of student evaluations, I turned for advice to my father, who was already a professor when those evaluations were first introduced. “We should be polling students to see what they thought of our classes,” he insisted. “Of course, their evaluations can’t signify the be-all and end-all for what constitutes effective teaching.” His position sounded sensible to me then -- and still does, now that I am a dean.
And yet -- as Stacey Patton’s recent essay, “Student Evaluations: Feared, Loathed, and Not Going Anywhere,” demonstrates -- many administrators make the mistake of using those evaluations as the sole, definitive, and objective measure of teacher quality.
I’m well aware that the value of student evaluations is contested, but like my father, I’ve also found that they can be useful tools. At my own institution, I inherited a nuanced set of faculty-designed guidelines on the use of student evals.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1035-how-to-use-student-evaluations-wisely#sthash.MIQ95jkz.dpuf
When I was a doctoral student, nervously facing my first set of student evaluations, I turned for advice to my father, who was already a professor when those evaluations were first introduced. “We should be polling students to see what they thought of our classes,” he insisted. “Of course, their evaluations can’t signify the be-all and end-all for what constitutes effective teaching.” His position sounded sensible to me then -- and still does, now that I am a dean.
And yet -- as Stacey Patton’s recent essay, “Student Evaluations: Feared, Loathed, and Not Going Anywhere,” demonstrates -- many administrators make the mistake of using those evaluations as the sole, definitive, and objective measure of teacher quality.
I’m well aware that the value of student evaluations is contested, but like my father, I’ve also found that they can be useful tools. At my own institution, I inherited a nuanced set of faculty-designed guidelines on the use of student evals.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/1035-how-to-use-student-evaluations-wisely#sthash.MIQ95jkz.dpuf

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