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ERIC Number: EJ779200
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2946
Student Teaching Evaluations: Inaccurate, Demeaning, Misused
Gray, Mary; Bergmann, Barbara R.
Academe, v89 n5 p44-46 Sep-Oct 2003
Fifty years ago, students at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, were publishing guides rating teachers and courses. Irreverent and funny, they featured pungent comments. Unfortunately, what originated as a light-hearted dope sheet for the use of students has, at the hands of university and college administrators, turned into an instrument of unwarranted and unjust termination for large numbers of junior faculty and a source of humiliation for many of their senior colleagues. As an entire career can be terminated by not-good-enough evaluations, the procedure of administering the evaluation instruments and getting them turned in, forces the faculty member into a situation that Catholics refer to as "a near occasion of sin." The administration sets up a system that presents the faculty with a powerful temptation to cheat, and then has to invent demeaning procedures to prevent cheating. The teacher is explicitly forbidden to touch the evaluation sheets after they have been filled out. A student has to be designated to collect and take them to the appropriate office. This procedure tells the students that the teacher is more than likely to be a cheat and a sneak, who will cook the books if given a chance. Both students and teacher pretend not to notice the shaming involved, but it is palpable in such a situation. For the most part, faculty have allowed this system to evolve with nary a whimper. The authors argue that student teaching evaluations as a means of judging teaching have no validity and are demeaning to faculty. Those who understand this truth are called upon to awaken their colleagues on the faculty and the administration to the facts. The author argues that this procedure is inaccurate, misleading, and shaming and hopes to see university administrations move toward more valid methods of student evaluation. [This article is produced by American Association of University Professors.]
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A