Tuesday, April 22, 2008


A recent experience and thoughts of a departed colleague led me down the path of thinking about how to evaluate teaching. The event was a conversation with a student who noted that a certain teacher left him in stitches everyday as though this meant it was good teaching. The thoughts were about a colleague who was happy with his student evaluations because they were "right where he wanted them." He meant not too high and not too low. Somewhere in all of this I also thought about a colleague who worries about whether the students were tiring of her schtick as she dissects the numbers.

I saw a study somewhere in which graduates were asked what turned out to be their most important law school courses. Wouldn't it make sense to do the same thing with teaching evaluations? Students can know who make the hour pass quickly, who "gave good notes" (as I have heard it called) but can they know who was the most effective in preparing them for life after law school. I doubt it. Plus there are those studies from other fields that show all kinds of relationships, including inverse, between evaluations and learning. Has any school attempted to corrolate the numbers on the evaluations with test performance.

So, here is a survey. "Verified" means some independent effort to determine whether the student know what they are talking about.

How does your School evaluate teaching?
It does not.
Unverified Student evaluations
Verified Student evaluations
Surveys of graduates
pollcode.com free polls


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