Again, we repeat: Student Evaluations of Teaching are biased

apple-3256487_1920Last week the Chronicle‘s teaching newsletter reported, again, about SETs: “‘Brilliant’ Philosophers and ‘Funny’ Psychology Instructors: What a Data-Visualization Tool Tells Us About How Students See Their Professors”.

The American Sociological Association has issued a cautionary statement on the use of SETs, endorsed by 17 other professional associations (including the American Historical Association and the American Political Science Association). The statement also offers better solutions, including:

Ask students to give feedback about their own experiences, not assign ratings, and use evaluations to locate patterns in a professor’s teaching over time, not to compare that professor to others.

The statement also provides examples of colleges that have taken a holistic approach to assessing teaching. The University of Oregon, for instance, has created a framework that includes peer review, self-reflection, and student feedback.


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