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ERIC Number: EJ929954
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0748-8475
Less-than-Perfect Judges: Evaluating Student Evaluations
Calkins, Susanna; Micari, Marina
Thought & Action, p7-22 Fall 2010
Student ratings, first introduced into the college classroom in the late 1920s, have long symbolized the often uneasy relationship between undergraduates and their professors. Certainly, research about student ratings has been exhaustive over the last 50 years. Several thousand studies have been published, many concerned with issues of validity and reliability of evaluation instruments. Yet, few studies have tackled the issue of student ratings in the context of the relationship between students and faculty and the place of higher education in society. In this article, the authors examine the academic discourse surrounding formal student ratings beginning when they first emerged, and focusing on the last 50 years. The authors first trace their development from near-private to semi-public communications, and the resulting discomfort that developed among faculty. Then, drawing on a wide selection of scholarly journal articles and popular commentaries, the authors examine how the notion of validity served as a weapon for faculty who wished to discredit the legitimacy of the student voice outright, as well as those who wished to discredit the tools for conveying that student voice, or to protest the undue use of that student voice in personnel decisions. At the same time, the authors suggest validity was also used to protect students as well as faculty, and legitimate their opinions and concerns. The authors look, too, at the strategies faculty have used to retain their own power and voice within a shifting and often poorly marked academic terrain. (Contains 56 endnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A