ERIC Number: ED243385
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Student Evaluations as Social Ritual.
The practice of student evaluation of college faculty is discussed in terms of the literature on social ritual. The following arguments that critics have raised are considered: student ratings of professors are neither scientific nor objective; feedback needed by professors to improve the quality of their work and data needed by administrators to make qualitative judgments about professors are not congruent; and records of the ratings become an instrument of social control inappropriate to higher education. It is suggested that the practice of student evaluations of teachers has been linked to student pressure for control and public pressure for accountability in past years. However, the campus atmosphere in the mid-1980s is not turbulent or rebellious and scholars have demonstrated that evaluations are not an integral part of the instructional process. Yet, the evaluations continue (i.e., the process is ritualized). Several factors that promote the ritual of student evaluations of faculty are discussed: the psychic payoff for almost all parties concerned (students, the administration, and the teacher); the increasing bureaucratization of the educational system; and the job security involved for the "staff development specialist." (SW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Social Science Association (62nd, Fort Worth, TX, March 1984).