Should Student Evaluations Matter?

The New York Times has a new “Room for  Debate” forum on “Professors and the Students Who Grade Them.”  Five sets of debaters take contrasting positions on whether and how student opinions on the quality of teaching should matter.  Opinions include “great, as long as they don’t count for anything and only the professor reads them,” and “evaluations are an indicator that teaching is highly valued,” and “ask them after they’ve graduated, when they actually know what they’ve learned.”  One writer suggests that we need to keep our customers happy.  And two economics professors cite their study showing that student evaluations correlate with grades but not with teaching quality.  What do you think?

About Beth Thornburg

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