Somewhere else, part 130

Some writings worth reading

…this is because student evaluations are useless. Ostensibly, SETs give us valuable feedback on our teaching effectiveness, factor importantly into our career trajectories, and provide accountability to the institution that employs us. None of this, however, is true. First, evaluations promote sucking up to customers—I’m sorry, students—often at the expense of teaching effectiveness. A recent comprehensive study, for example, showed that professors get good evaluations by teaching to the test and being entertaining. Student learning hardly factors in, because (surprise) students are often poor judges of what will help them learn. (They are, instead, excellent judges of how to get an easy A.) Asking students to evaluate their professors anonymously is like Trader Joe’s soliciting Yelp reviews from a shoplifter. Indeed, some of the worst evaluations I ever got were for hands-down the best teaching I’ve ever done—which I measured by the revolutionary metric of “the students were way better at German walking out than they were walking in.” Alas, this took work, and some of the Kinder attempted to stage a mutiny on evaluation day. Little did they know that a “too much work” dig is the #humblebrag of the academy—and, indeed, anything less on evals is seen as pandering at best, and out-and-out grade-bribery at worst. [to be continued…]

et un peu de lecture en français,

Did I miss something?


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