An evaluation of course evaluations

ScienceOpen Research. 2014; DOI 10.14293/S2199-1006.1.SOR-EDU.AOFRQA.v1

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: ScienceOpen Research

ISSN: 2199-1006 (Online)

Publisher: ScienceOpen

LCC Subject Category: General Works

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, XML

 

AUTHORS

Philip B. Stark (Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA)
Richard Freishtat (Center for Teaching and Learning, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Open peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 1 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Student ratings of teaching have been used, studied, and debated for almost a century. This article examines student ratings of teaching from a statistical perspective. The common practice of relying on averages of student teaching evaluation scores as the primary measure of teaching effectiveness for promotion and tenure decisions should be abandoned for substantive and statistical reasons: There is strong evidence that student responses to questions of “effectiveness” do not measure teaching effectiveness. Response rates and response variability matter. And comparing averages of categorical responses, even if the categories are represented by numbers, makes little sense. Student ratings of teaching are valuable when they ask the right questions, report response rates and score distributions, and are balanced by a variety of other sources and methods to evaluate teaching.