If you are planning to take course evaluation survey for this semester you might find the following post of some interest to you. An anonymous survey with close-ended and open-ended questions about the course and course instructor administered at the end of the semester is common practice in higher educational institutions. Despite the wide use of such surveys to improve the quality of education offered by universities, course evaluation and instructor evaluation’s reliability is questioned with regards to several aspects.
Students’ evaluations are biased and subjective. Students rate the instructors higher when they expect that their grades will be high (Tech, 2010). Similarly, the more effort they put into learning during the course the higher they rate the instructor. Students’ evaluation is dependent on their personalities, especially on their agreeableness and neuroticism (Mccann & Gardner, 2014). Less agreeable students and more neurotic students tend to rate their instructors more negatively. Moreover, gender also influences the evaluation of instructor. Female students assess their instructors more positively than male students (Feldman; as cited in Brozik, 2012). Likewise, there seems to be a gender bias against female instructors. Compared to male instructors, female instructors are rated lower (Rutland; as cited in Brozik, 2012).
Class size and response rate should be also taken into account. According to Kuwaiti, Quraan and Subbarayalu (2016), the data collected from small classes with low response rate is not sufficient to be reliable and cannot be generalized. The scholars suggest considering adequate only the data with minimum medium response rate for small classes. Another interesting finding about small size classes is reported by McKeachie (as cited in Brozik, 2012). It appears that students from small classes rate their instructors more positively than those from large classes.
Finally, the dimensions of course evaluation and instructor evaluation often overlap and are confused by the students. Course content influences the rating of the instructor and vice versa. If the content is interesting the instructors tend to be rated in a more positive manner (Brozik, 2012). Similarly, the findings form the study by Landrum & Dillinger (2004) show that the results for course evaluation are positively correlated with the results for instructor evaluation. I personally, felt the influence of instructor evaluation on the course evaluation. When I liked the instruction I always found the course useful and vice versa.
What do you think about course evaluations and instructor evaluations? How effective do you think they are?
Brozik, D. (2012). The Other Side of Teaching Assessment, US-China Education Review, 1, 107–112.
Kuwaiti, A., Quraan, M.A. & Subbarayalu, A.V. (2016). Understanding the effect of response rate and class size interaction on students evaluation of teaching in a higher education. Cogent Education , 3, 1-11, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2016.1204082
Landrum, R.E. & Dillinger, R.J. (2004). The relationship between student performance and instructor evaluations revisited. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 39(2), 5–9.
Mccann, S., & Gardner, C. (2017). Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education Student personality differences are related to their responses on instructor evaluation forms instructor evaluation forms. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(3), 410–424. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2013.845647
Tech, V. (2010). Course grades , quality of student engagement, and students’ evaluation of Instructor, International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 22(3), 331–336.