June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
New Engineering Educators
13.469.1 - 13.469.10
Effective Teaching: The Students’ Perspective Teaching evaluations are a very useful instrument for instructors and often have great importance for tenure and promotions. Particularly, new faculty may encounter difficulties in identifying the factors that effectively influence students' decisions about evaluation scores. There are many interesting questions in the evaluation questionnaire, but many times only the scores for a few questions are relevant for tenure and promotion decisions. We selected four questions of particular interest: "the course as a whole was...?"; "the course content was...?"; "the instructor's contribution to the course was...?"; "the instructor's effectiveness in teaching the subject matter was...?". A preliminary survey asked students to identify their specific judgment process related to the scores they assign to these questions. Student responses were analyzed and aggregated into categories. The results of our analysis are likely to be of interest to new faculty trying to improve their teaching evaluation scores. However, they may be useful to others involved in education, as the practical factors suggested by students may not always be obvious.
1. Introduction Students routinely evaluate their instructors’ performance; this feedback is always welcome as instructors can reflect on the students’ perceptions and attempt to improve their teaching methods. Education institutions use student evaluations of teaching (SET) to establish the quality of instructors’ work as well as for tenure, promotions, retention, and salary raise purposes. SET and their interpretations therefore have significant importance and have been widely treated in the literature. There are various opinions regarding the validity of SET as a measure of the instructors’ work quality. Gillmore  shows that adequate instructor reliability rating is achieved when aggregating across about seven classes and that it becomes especially strong when aggregating across 15 or more classes under specific testing conditions. Therefore, the study concludes that decision-making based on Instructional Assessment System is valid but limited to similar conditions of measurement. Moreover, the analyzed data came only from the University of Washington and may not translate correctly to other campuses .
Some studies show that the relationship between grading practices and SET is especially important. It was argued, for instance, that instructors can increase SET scores by inflating grades or grade expectations [2-6]. Student perceived learning and characteristics such as course level and interest in the subject appear to account for much of the grade–SET relation . Given that SET scores can be inflated by higher grades, adjustment methods were proposed . However, there is disagreement regarding the implementation of SET corrections . The validity of SET as measure of teaching effectiveness was strongly questioned in the 1970’s . More recently, it was argued that student ratings are of little help to instructors willing to improve them if not supported by professional advice . The hypothesis that the instructor’s look is a relevant factor to SET was dismissed by a recent study . More general concerns are related to how effectively SET ratings are actually used .
Ieta, A., & Doyle, T., & Pallone, A. (2008, June), Effective Teaching: The Students’ Perspective Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4318
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