Home > Educational Leadership, Higher Education, Teaching & Learning > How to Read a Student Evaluation

How to Read a Student Evaluation

By David D. Perlmutter

The fall semester is under way, your courses are exciting, and you are busily “professing” about biochemistry, microeconomics, or Middlemarch to students encountering you for the first time. Surely they will know how much you care, how hard you have worked to be here, how much they have to learn from you.

Well, one would hope so. But at the end of the term you will get some hard data on: (a) how well they performed on the measures you created to test their learning and (b) how well you fared in the measures the university created to test your teaching.

The latter instrument, the end-of-semester student evaluation, is an object of scorn, dread, praise, faith, and power in academe today. For those on the tenure track, there will be other teaching metrics—like peer evaluations (the subject of the next month’s column). But student evaluations count as one of the main ways you are judged under the promotion-and-tenure category of teaching, so you should take them seriously. And if you are an adjunct, those evaluations can matter even more to your continued employment, so much of the advice I will offer applies to you, too.

Continued at: http://chronicle.com/article/How-to-Read-a-Student/129553/

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