Reevaluate course evaluations

by Editorial Board, Cavalier Daily

To better assess the performance of our professors, the University should revamp course evaluations. As voluntary, typically anonymous forms, course evaluations do not adequately assist professors with teaching improvement. In order to better its system of pedagogical evaluations, the University should consider implementing compulsory, non-anonymous course evaluation forms complemented by peer review from other professors each semester. Student evaluations suffer from response bias, as those who complete them are self-selected volunteers, which overrepresents individuals with strong positive or negative opinions. Requiring all students to complete an evaluation for each of their classes in order to view their course grades would alleviate this issue. Compulsory evaluations would be more helpful for professors in that they would allow them to consider a broader range of student criticisms of their courses. Anonymity also introduces the online disinhibition effect to student evaluations. Evaluations that conceal the identities of those who submit them may cause teaching criticism to be less constructive than it would be if the evaluations were not anonymous.

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