Shonta Smith on Student Ratings of Instruction: Evaluating the Professor

I am Dr. Shonta Smith, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau Missouri.

Like my fellow university professors, I too, am evaluated each semester by my students in order to assess my overall teaching performance.  The purpose of the evaluation is to improve instructional practices and to help in personnel decisions.  The students’ evaluation of instruction is one source of information.  Other sources include self-evaluations, peer evaluations and department evaluations.  The students’ evaluation of instruction is needed because it provides students with the opportunity to offer constructive criticism.  In addition, it assesses content, presentation and provides the individual professor with data that may support his/her considerations for promotion, tenure and salary increments.  In order to ensure that this process is beneficial and effective for teaching and learning, the following tips are recommended:

Hot Tip: Make sure the questionnaire/survey is both reliable and valid.  At times professors may appear not to agree with this form of accountability because the tool being used may not be reliable and valid.  The tool being used should measure what it purports to measure and should be consistent.  There are various ways to measure the reliability and validity of the tool being used.  For example, check for test-retest reliability and content validity.

Hot Tip: Make sure its evaluative criteria represent the most current research available.  The criteria should reflect best practices such as lifelong learning, team skills, application to learning and basic cognitive background.

Hot Tip: Use it for constructive feedback in order to improve instructional practices.  Analyze whether the current practices being used are conducive to teaching and learning; then the assessor makes the necessary changes to augment instructional practices.

Hot Tip: However, prior to students completing the evaluation, professors should conduct a self-evaluation and compare how they rate their own teaching performance to the ratings of their students.  Conducting a self-evaluation provides the professor with the opportunity to create a performance improvement plan.  The plan is used to enhance teaching and learning.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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