Titus Stahl

Can student evaluations be saved?

While I am still highly skeptical regarding the worth of student evaluations, there is an interesting article by Elizabeth Barre who argues that the emerging consensus that such evaluations are essentially worthless is not fully supported by the evidence. She also links to a load of literature which one would have to review. This comes as a response to the wide reception of the highly critical Stark and Freishtat Paper “An evaluation of course evaluations” (PDF) (which Barre for some reasons does not link to in her blog post).

I haven’t made up my mind about the conflicting claims on this matter but it seems at least as if departments should pay some attention to the universally shared finding that course evaluations must be controlled for many factors to be informative even on the most positive interpretations of the existing research.