Category Archives: teaching

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.


Join our round table discussions tomorrow: 5:30pm Monday @ Mudd

fleming, mikulski, weaver april 2018All JHU students, faculty, and staff are invited to join Women Faculty Forum on Monday evening for comments and discussion on mentorship, community, and equity. After comments by Professor Karen Fleming, Dean Beverly Wendland, and Senator Barbara Mikulski, join round table discussions anchored by:

Candice Baldwin, Director of Hop-In

Linda Boyd, Interim Asst Vice Provost & Title IX Coordinator

Irene Ferguson, Director of Student Enrichment Programs

Bertrand Garcia-Moreno, Biophysics

Joy Gaslevic, Interim VP for Institutional Equity

Jeff Gray, Chemical & Biomedical Engineering

Jeannine Heynes, Director of Women & Gender Resources

Bonnie Jin, News-Letter

Alexandra Lossada, English; PhD Student Advisory Committee

Chika Mese, Math

Diva Parekh, News-Letter

Gabrielle Spiegel, History

Gabi Swistara, News-Letter

Yi Wang, Math

Good food, good company, & kids welcome: that’s Where We Stand, in a nutshell, 5 years running! 🙂

Hope to see you Monday @ 5:30 at Mudd

pho-11jan04-280688Our 5th annual Where We Stand event (Monday, 5:30pm, Mudd Atrium) is star-studded and we hope you will join the constellation! Join Professor Karen Fleming, Dean Beverly Wendland, and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski for their insights on mentorship, community-building, and equity.

After their remarks, participate in round-table discussions, each focusing on different themes: undergraduates, graduate students & postdocs, junior faculty, data bias and the gender gap in research, community-building, and implicit gender & race bias, including math anxiety. Our wonderful discussants include: Gabrielle Spiegel (history), Chika Mese (math), Irene Ferguson (Center for Student Success), Diva Parekh (News-Letter), Joy Gaslevic (Interim Vice Provost for Institutional Equity), Jeff Gray (chemical biomedical engineering), and MORE!

Plus, snacks.

And toddler Legos for kids of all ages.

Iowa State Study: Informing students about bias in SETs may reduce bias

apple-3256487_1920Here’s the abstract:

Student evaluations of teaching are widely believed to contain gender bias. In this study, we conduct a randomized experiment with the student evaluations of teaching in four classes with large enrollments, two taught by male instructors and two taught by female instructors. In each of the courses, students were randomly assigned to either receive the standard evaluation instrument or the same instrument with language intended to reduce gender bias. Students in the anti-bias language condition had significantly higher rankings of female instructors than students in the standard treatment. There were no differences between treatment groups for male instructors. These results indicate that a relatively simple intervention in language can potentially mitigate gender bias in student evaluation of teaching.


From “Mitigating gender bias in student evaluations of teaching” by David A. M. Peterson, Lori A. Biederman, David Andersen, Tessa M. Ditonto, Kevin Roe