It's Student Evaluation Time—Are Student Evals Worthless?

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by Rebecca Schuman It’s student evaluation time again—and I should be the last professor in the world to complain. With slight exceptions for “caring too much” and courses that meet “too early” (9:10 a.m.), my evaluations are quite good. And yet the student evaluations of teaching (SETs) I’ve received during my decade-long teaching career have meant absolutely nothing. This is because student evaluations are useless. Ostensibly, SETs give us valuable feedback on our teaching effectiveness, factor importantly into our career trajectories, and provide accountability to the institution that employs us. None of this, however, is true. First, evaluations promote sucking up to customers—I’m sorry, students—often at […]
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