Course evaluations

Alex Reinhart – Updated March 14, 2018 notebooks ·

See also Pedagogy.

Student course evaluations are a standard feature of college instruction. Faculty know they suffer from various biases – particularly selection bias, where only the particularly angry or amazingly happy students fill out their evaluations. The usual advice is to take evaluations with some skepticism, and to understand that they are only useful to identify broad trends, not rank individual instructors.

However, there turn out to be other biases and issues beyond selection bias.

Gender bias

Actual learning

From pedagogy we learn that students find it difficult to evaluate their own learning and often do not develop expert-like thinking in a course. Are students able to give course evaluations which accurately reflect how well the course taught them?

Subject area differences