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Using student evaluations to improve individual and department teaching qualities

  • Mary R Hedges

    (University of Auckland)

  • Don Webber


    (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Student evaluations can be seen as an opportunity for students to vent their views on the quality of teaching that they receive, and sometimes instructors trivialise the importance of this information exchange opportunity. This paper takes student evaluations of teaching quality seriously and highlights that the information can be used more effectively. It illustrates how information from evaluations can be used to identify areas where the whole department has strengths and weaknesses and where individual instructors perform relative to their own department. This information can be used to identify individuals with specific areas of expertise and shape best practice within departments, across departments and/or across institutions. It can also be used to highlight individuals who may require further training and reveal areas of mediocrity that are at risk of intervention from a higher level. Finally, it suggests ways to implement shared best practice in order to improve department teaching quality assessment results and individual teaching performance.

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Paper provided by Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol in its series Working Papers with number 20121205.

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Date of creation: 05 Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uwe:wpaper:20121205
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  1. Langbein, Laura, 2008. "Management by results: Student evaluation of faculty teaching and the mis-measurement of performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 417-428, August.
  2. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Parker, Amy, 2005. "Beauty in the classroom: instructors' pulchritude and putative pedagogical productivity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 369-376, August.
  3. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
  4. Paul Isely & Harinder Singh, 2005. "Do Higher Grades Lead to Favorable Student Evaluations?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 29-42, January.
  5. Peter Davies & Ross Guest, 2010. "What effect do we really have on students' understanding and attitudes? How do we know?," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 9(1), pages 6-9.
  6. Michael A. McPherson, 2006. "Determinants of How Students Evaluate Teachers," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 3-20, January.
  7. Ewing, Andrew M., 2012. "Estimating the impact of relative expected grade on student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 141-154.
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