Home » Articles » Student Evaluations

Student Evaluations


Student evaluations has importance in academic courses. Course valuation and appraisal in university programs is routine practice in academic life. This evaluation is used broadly in different higher education institutions. At the end of a semester, a questionnaire is given to each student.

Students have liberty to give their feedback on the worth of the course, the clearness of the material offered and the consistency of instructions. They can give proposals on improvements and rate their overall level of gratification. There are number of instruments which include array of dimensions using different constructs in order to define teaching quality. Such instruments, mostly rating-scale questionnaires, not only differ in terms of the underlying dimensions of university teaching being assessed but also in the assessment methods used.

Though there is vast difference in student evaluations for content and design in different colleges, there are common topics that are usually included. Characteristically, there are questions about the professors' communication skills, interaction with the students, groundwork for classes, approach toward students, and availability after classes, understanding of the subject and presentation intelligibility. It is obvious that creating a universal questionnaire and interpreting the results honestly is a serious task.

Generally student evaluations are performed for two major reasons. The first one is the summative evaluation. It is used to appraise the lecturer's general capability to teach and his or her effectiveness. This type of evaluation is beneficial for the administration, as it provides decision on the teacher's performance as a whole. Normally, in a paper based format, the paper form is distributed by a student while the teacher is not present in the room. It is then sealed in an envelope and the teacher will not see it until after final grades are submitted. The online version can be same to a paper version or more detailed, using branching question technology to collect more information from the student. Both ways allow the student to be able to provide beneficial and authentic feedback. This feedback is to be used by teachers to increase the quality of their instruction. The information can also be used to evaluate the overall efficiency of a teacher, particularly for tenure and upgrade decisions.

The second type of evaluation, called formative, gives the opportunity to analyse the teacher's strengths and flaws and subsequently, improve the quality of the course. Normally, this form of evaluation is executed by peer consultation. Other experienced teachers will review one of their peer's instructions.

The aim of this evaluation is for the teacher to receive constructive criticism on teaching. Generally, peer teachers will sit in on a few lessons given by the teacher and take notes on their methods. Later on the team of peer teachers will meet with the said teacher and provide useful, non-threatening feedback on their lessons. The peer team will offer recommendations on improvement, which said teacher can pick for execution.

These types of evaluation have some problems in interpreting the results. Students' general evaluation on the teacher's performance may differ vividly. Many researches have demonstrated that there are various factors that may influence student evaluations, such as the time of day when the class takes place, the expected mark of the student, whether the course is required or elective, the class size and the student's willingness to take the course. As far as formative evaluation is concerned, the main concern is whether students are able to recognize and differentiate between different teaching methods and passably rate teacher's weaknesses and strengths.

Additionally, numerous research designates that student evaluations of teachers' behaviour are not inherently identical to students' learning but rather indicate student satisfaction. In a journal, it was argued that student evaluation is actually a measure of client satisfaction rather than an objective feedback on teaching practices. Opponents of student evaluations do not criticise of the students giving feedback in general but since many faculty administrators use the results as a basis for decision-making, concerning promotion, retention and tenure, it is recommended that administrators must be more cautious in use of such exercises.

In western countries, such as Canada and the U.S., common means of evaluating teaching typically include course evaluations, letters from students and colleagues, in-class/peer evaluations, the receipt of teaching awards, course materials and texts and evidence of innovative strategies and practices. Each of these measures has it its own restrictions and limitations. Therefore most institutions depend on more than one form of evidence to develop a complete understanding of a candidate's teaching contributions.

It has been observed that Student course evaluations may be a source of anxiety for faculty and for some provoke outright hostility (Hodges & Stanton, 2007). Such attitudes are derived from tenacious beliefs that evaluations are prejudiced as students are capable of good evaluation (Eiszler, 2002). Some scholars argued that and that ratings are impacted by student grade expectations. But several studies have established that administrators have a positive attitude toward evaluation data and find it a valuable source of information for employee's decisions.

To assess the student evaluation of teacher's effectiveness, Quantitative student ratings of teaching are commonly used.They are popular because the measurement is easy: Students fill out forms. It takes about 10 minutes of class time and even less faculty time. The major labor for the institution is to record the data; online evaluations automate that step.

Another way to gather feedback from students is to have them complete an anonymous, online survey about the course. The Small Group Analysis is a technique of gathering anonymous feedback from students about what is helping them learn and what is not, in a course.This service is provided by the Center for Teaching, and is an excellent way to assess students' response to your teaching mid-semester.

The main questions for evaluators is the factors that is to be assessed.

It is well recognized that teaching evaluation has as its central component the assessment of the quality of classroom instruction. Since teaching comprises of various activities than classroom instruction, evaluation of teaching must measure more than classroom performance. While departments and schools may recognise additional items, it is recommended that following teaching activities may be assessed:

1. Quality, amount, and level of classroom instruction (including shared instruction)

2. Development of curricula, new courses, and classroom materials;

3. Supervision and mentoring of graduate students, including chairing of dissertations;

4. Service on graduate examination and dissertation committees;

5. One-on-one consultation with students, including supervision of independent study and readings courses;

6. Supervision of teaching assistants in undergraduate courses;

7. Conduct and supervision of laboratory instruction;

8. Management of undergraduate and graduate research;

9. Advising students in the major;

10. Supervision of field work; and

11. Supervision of clinical and practicum experiences.

It can be said that student evaluation of teaching and courses are considered to be pointer of learning and teaching practices from the student viewpoint. They are an important source of facts to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching responsibilities, and course and program curriculum design. These evaluations facilitate the University to evaluate how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices enable student engagement with the prospectus and learning effects.