Implications of Recent Research on Student Evaluations of Teaching
Montana Professor, Vol. 17, No. 1, p. 11, Fall 2006
5 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2007 Last revised: 9 Dec 2012
This article discusses recent research about student evaluations of professors (sometimes called student ratings.) Recent studies identify factors that bias the ratings, including the effect of the students' expected grades. Studies also identify negative effects of the ratings, including a lessening of course rigor.
The results of the author's study about student ratings are also discussed. Survey respondents were teachers of legal writing in U.S. law schools. Asked whether they had ever refrained from doing something they thought pedagogically sound because it might negatively affect their student ratings, 25% responded yes. Thirty-one percent believed student ratings contribute to a lessening of rigor in law school classes.
The article concludes that some universities place undue weight on student ratings in light of their biases and negative effects. It recommends that teaching be evaluated holistically through such means as peer classroom visits and teaching portfolios.
Keywords: Student ratings, evaluations, teaching legal writing, instructors, professors, faculty, teaching, university, college, personnel, law school, survey, bias, grades, negative effects, consumer, grade inflation, rigor, peer evaluation, teaching portfolio
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation