Category: student evaluations of teaching

Breaking Bad Habits

They are clearly biased against racialized and other historically marginalized groups; they are statistically unreliable; and they do not and cannot answer their intended purpose. Yes, we are talking (again) about student surveys, the cheap candy of teaching metrics.
As we said in 2019, it is hard to imagine an instrument more ill-suited to its supposed value than student opinion surveys. Leaving aside the statistical limitations involved in what are often small non-randomized samples, these surveys cannot provide accurate information about the skill of the instructor or the effectiveness of their teaching. They tell us instead, as one would normally expect from a survey, about the students themselves.

Alternatives to Student Evaluations of Teaching

On the matter of student evaluations of teaching (SEoT), our position is clear: we propose that these measures not be used in the summative evaluation of teaching for appointment, reappointment, promotion, and tenure. The invalidity of these instruments has been known for a long time; the evidence that they are also biased against protected classes of people increases seemingly weekly.

Student Opinion Surveys

It is hard to imagine that there is a widely-used instrument as ill-suited to the purpose to which it has been put as student opinion surveys are to measuring teaching effectiveness.