Monday, September 22, 2008

Student Evaluations

Yesterday's NY Times Magazine, a special issue devoted to higher education, contained a particularly interesting story of professor hired to teach a course at Wesleyan, and then let go the following year because her student evaluations weren't good enough. Part of the point of the story is that three quarters of the students actually did think the course highly effective, although reactions were polarized. More broadly, the story points out how colleges and universities have increasingly made retention decisions based on student evaluations.

Here I'll make two main observations. First, as the magazine story itself notes, at research universities (the only sort of institution at which I have taught professionally), teaching still rarely plays a substantial role in retention decisions (although I have seen speculation about the teaching effectiveness of an entry-level candidate with no prior teaching experience used as a criterion in appointments decisions). Truly incompetent teaching may prevent a marginal scholar from receiving tenure, just as stellar teaching can help secure tenure for a marginal scholar, but research universities simply do not value teaching nearly as much as scholarship. (That said, nearly all of my colleagues have tended to care a great deal about their own teaching, including those who were regarded as poor teachers by their students.)

Second, here's a radical idea: How about measuring teaching effectiveness by outcomes? There are obvious problems, here, of course. One is the development of good outcome measures. For a law school contracts class, do we look at how students later fared on the contracts questions on the bar? Any test-based measure could have the unfortunate effect of encouraging teaching to the test. Moreover, what about undergraduate courses that have education for its own sake as their goal? How do we measure the "outputs" of a course in music appreciation or meta-ethics? The solution to these problems would have to differ by area, but for law school courses, one easy method would be to administer evaluations a few years after graduation. I have often been told by alumni that they thought my civil procedure course was mystifying, boring or worse when they took it, but that years later they really appreciated it when thorny issues arose in practice. (Presumably there were also students who liked the course when they took it but then later realized they didn't learn what they needed to. These students tend not to contact me.)

Tracking would be difficult for a proposal such as this one, as would the complication of the exam: Evaluations are typically administered before exams so students don't simply praise the teachers who gave them high grades and criticize those who gave them low ones. By delaying evaluations for years, however, my proposal would permit most former students to get past their grades. And in any event, the current practice itself introduces distortions: In some courses, students don't appreciate how effective the teaching was until they study at the end of the semester.

In any event, my goal here is to start a conversation on how to improve teaching evaluations. Additional suggestions are welcome.

Posted by Mike Dorf

11 comments:

Mithras said...

Suggestions:

1. Don't wait until the end of the semester to do the evaluations. Leaving it to the last week of class probably skews the result so that you oversample people with unusually good or bad experiences. Everyone else just wants to get out of there to stud for finals. Leaving the evaluations until the end sends a clear signal that they are an afterthought.

Instead, survey students a couple of times a semester, including at the end. If the university really believes evaluations are an important tool, then they are worth doing more than once. You could, for example, have evaluations completed whenever students receive a grade, such as after an exam.

2. Every evaluation I have ever filled out was a list of questions relating to qualities or tasks, which solicited a ranking of 1-5, and added a line or several for comments, if any. We can do better. You can keep the quantitative stuff, but have students do a longer written qualitative evaluation at least once a semester.

3. Maybe not feasible: Make evaluations non-anonymous to the people making retention decisions. Issue students a code number (that the instructors don't know) that they put on the evaluation form. This would allow analysis such as correlating a student's grades to her evaluations, comparing all of a student's evaluations to determine if he is a hard or easy grader, and comparing students who usually grade various instructors similarly to highlight instances when an outlier occurs. The problem is that it would convince students that the instructors couldn't get the non-anonymous data.

Paul said...

For what it is worth, I think student input on faculty is only slightly less destructive than student input on law review content.

That said, if you really want student evaluation of teachers to matter, I would suggest taking the first step of narrowing the input. Almost every school is going to have a handful of students each year which will make themselves know to the faculty and administration and whose opinion on a variety of things the faculty and administration will value. Just seek out the input of those students. Have that input come in the form of verbal exchanges/interviews.

Adam P. said...

I tend to think that there's no empirical basis for the idea that "Student evaluations" are having that great an impact, particularly at smaller institutions (like Wesleyan or most law schools). Professors know how other professors are regarded by students; they knew this before course evaluations and they know it now.

I think student views of teaching are kind of like standardized tests in college admissions: at the low and middle ranges, they dont tell you that much. But when someone receives superlatives, it is likely not a fluke.

C.E. Petit said...

One thing that would probably be of more value than anything else would be to do evaluations twice: once at the very beginning of the course (within the first week), and one at the end... to emphasize to both the instructors and the students that the goal of the course is "increased understanding of the material" under whatever metric is involved and for some value of "increased understanding." This would help normalize for two problems with evaluations that are somewhat peculiar to law school:

* Pre-course knowledge

* Cross-course learning (bluntly, I learned more about civ pro in legal writing than I did from the civ pro instructor... although, admittedly, some of that is due to my own pre-course knowledge)

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片http://ssff01.3b8mm.com/

路傑 said...

免費A片, ut聊天室, AV女優, 美女視訊, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇, 情色交友, 免費AV, 線上a片, 日本美女寫真集, 同志聊天室, 聊天室交友, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 色情影片, 成人影片, 成人網站, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, A片,H漫, 18成人, a漫, av dvd, 一夜情聊天室, 微風成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網, 日本A片, 免費A片下載, 性愛, 成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, 成人, 中部人聊天室, 080中部人聊天室, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 成人電影, A片, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 成人遊戲, 成人影城, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲, 成人網站, 麗的色遊戲, 色情網站, 成人論壇, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 自拍, 癡漢, , 俱樂部, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊交友90739 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室 免費視訊聊天室 視訊聊天 視訊交友 美女視訊 視訊美女 視訊 免費視訊 免費視訊聊天 視訊聊天室 辣妹視訊 一夜情 色情a片 aio交友愛情館 情色電影 情色視訊 色情遊戲 色情 情色小說 一葉情貼圖片區 色情小說 色情聊天室 情色交友 成人論壇 成人網站 色情網站 情色論壇 小高聊天室 女同志聊天室 6K聊天室 080苗栗人聊天室 080聊天室 聊天室尋夢園 UT男同志聊天室 男同志聊天室 尋夢園聊天室 UT聊天室 聊天室 豆豆聊天室 A片 成人電影 成人貼圖 嘟嘟成人網 美女交友 本土自拍 成人交友 成人影片http://ssff01.3b8mm.com/

kutyhgvd said...

I always heard something from my neighbor that he sometimes goes to the internet bar to play the game which will use him some gw gold,he usually can win a lot of GuildWars Gold,then he let his friends all have some Guild Wars Gold,his friends thank him very much for introducing them the GuildWars money,they usually cheap gw gold together.

. said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,制服店,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,兼差,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,日式酒店,舞廳,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店小姐,理容院,日領,龍亨,學生兼差,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工,酒店小姐,經紀 彩色爆米花,經紀人 彩色爆米花,酒店傳播,酒店經紀 彩色爆米花,爆米花,童裝,童裝拍賣,童裝大盤,童裝寄賣,童裝批貨,酒店,酒店,童裝切貨,酒店,GAP童裝,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒暑假打工

wsty said...

www.eshooes.com .
www.pumafr.com.
www.myshoess.com.
[url=http://www.pumafr.com]puma shoes[/url]
[url=http://www.eshooes.com]chaussures puma[/url]
[url=http://www.myshoess.com]nike air max ltd[/url]

酒店經紀ㄚ君姐姐 said...

,,姐.,便服/,,

freefun0616 said...

酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店經紀, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店工作, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀, 專業酒店經紀, 合法酒店經紀, 酒店暑假打工, 酒店寒假打工, 酒店經紀人, 菲梵酒店經紀, 酒店經紀, 禮服酒店上班, 酒店小姐兼職, 便服酒店工作, 酒店打工經紀, 制服酒店經紀,,