ERIC Number: EJ897465
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jan
The Secret to the "Best" Ratings from Any Evaluation Scale
Berk, Ronald A.
Journal of Faculty Development, v24 n1 p37-39 Jan 2010
Most faculty developers have a wide variety of rating scales that fly across their desk tops as their incremental program activities unfold during the academic year. The primary issue for this column is: What is the quality of those ratings used for decisions about people and programs? When students, faculty, and administrators rate a program or someone's performance, it is assumed that they will read each item carefully and make their honest assessment with scrupulous impartiality. The problem is that human tendencies may contaminate their responses, rendering them less than honest and impartial. These tendencies are known as "response sets" or "biases." More than 10 types of bias can affect ratings, such as the halo effect; end-aversion bias; extreme-response bias; acquiescence bias; and gender, racial/ethnic, and sexual orientation bias. There are four that particularly afflict faculty or administrator ratings: leniency-stringency bias, incompetence bias, buddy bias, and back-scratching bias. Awareness of these biases and the techniques to minimize or eliminate them can produce more accurate ratings and foster more perceptive decisions than those currently being made. These biases are briefly described in this column along with suggestions for minimizing their effects.
Descriptors: Response Style (Tests), Rating Scales, Faculty Development, Bias, Sexual Orientation, Ethics, Student Evaluation of Teacher Performance, Test Validity
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A