Students Aren’t Terribly Good at Evaluating Teaching

Not many teachers place great faith in the semesterly ritual of *student evaluation of instruction*. Most of us disregard the results, as much as we dare in this era of ascendant administrative power, because we have seen the forms: a collection of overly abstract questions designed to make it possible for students to fill it out as quickly as possible and for someone somewhere to collect the data. Once upon a time it was dark, graphite circles on a scanned page; now it’s something like radio buttons on a screen. (I don’t know: I haven’t seen the latest version of SEI being used at my university — they could be asking them for their favorite recipes for all I know.)

[James Rovira][] has a link-filled post on “Charismatic Teacher = High Evals, but not High Learning,” pointing out that with everyone calling MOOCs the next wave of education, we are only reinforcing poor pedagogical practices: as Rovira notes, *lecturing* and *teaching* are two different things. He concludes with something really disturbing: “high student course evaluations are negatively correlated with deep, long-term learning. In other words, when teachers engage in practices that help students retain what they’ve learned, they’re punished for it with low student evaluations.” Here’s the link for the [UC-Davis study][] that makes this case.

For the other links, see Rovira’s post.

[James Rovira]:
[UC-Davis study]:

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