Student evaluations hold value in context, reviewed as data: Gannon

May 18, 2018

“So we know student evaluations matter. Perhaps the better question is: Should they?” asks Kevin Gannon in a defense of student teaching evaluations. Gannon examines the way that evaluations are used in various contexts, and argues that while students may not be experts in pedagogy, they are experts in their own experience and deserve to have a voice. To this end, the author recommends reviewing teaching evaluations to understand the majority opinion, not taking the results personally, and trying to understand the results in the context of the multiple factors facing the course. However, Gannon also points to the ethical obligation that assessors have to view student evaluations in the greater context of the course and with an understanding of the documented biases of evaluations as an assessment tool. Chronicle of Higher Education