Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Student evaluations of teaching: The studentsí perspective

Trudy Harris, University of Waikato
Linda Twiname, University of Waikato

Abstract

Consultation with all stakeholders is required to embed an evaluation culture effectively within an education institution. One of the groups deeply involved in any institutions evaluation process, but routinely overlooked during such consultations and discussions are the students. Even the evaluation literature is limited on this subject. Evaluations are implemented at most tertiary institutions as part of performance appraisal and promotion processes. Therefore, there is an added imperative that we understand studentsí views and perceptions around evaluation processes. At a New Zealand University a teaching initiative has been developed which enables studentsí to gain insight into the complex world of performance appraisal. They do so by designing an instrument which allows them to conduct a performance appraisal of their lecturer. One of the outputs of this teaching initiative is a reflection by students on their views of evaluation as part of performance appraisal processes in universities. Unlike previous studies around student perceptions, this paper uses a thematic analysis of studentsí reflective comments to show that the students value evaluation as an important process, predominantly for the development of the paper and the teacher. However, the students have noted that in terms of performance appraisal processes there is very little evidence of follow-up processes, or feedback to students, by faculty and the institution.

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