22 SES 06 B, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Student evaluation of teaching has been a valuable means of feedback, offering a potential contribution to the improvement of student satisfaction, learning outcomes, and faculty performance in higher education institutions (Serdyukova, Tatum, & Serdyukow, 2010). Its results are not only used for the purpose of developmental decisions but also and even more commonly employed for personnel decisions including hiring, tenure, promotion, and annual review (Gravestock & Gregor-Greenleaf, 2008). As a result, the validity and reliability of student evaluation to distinguish teaching effectiveness in higher education have been a major area of concern of several studies in educational research (e.g., Davidovitch, 2009; Heine & Maddox, 2009; Spoooren & Dimitri, 2006).
Though current literature presents inconclusive findings regarding the trustworthiness of student ratings of courses (Zakka, 2009), it is still supported to be implemented in practice but cautiously considering that teacher effectiveness cannot be evaluated with a single method (Kulik & McKeachie, 1975; Wagenaar, 2005). One of the key aspects requiring attention in practice to improve the effectiveness of student evaluation of teaching is to ensure a reasonable response rate to evaluation survey, preventing results to be biased (Kherfi 2011; Nowell, Gale, & Handley, 2010). Online evaluation is particularly considered to pose a threat to this end because it is often associated with lower rate of response compared to traditional paper-pencil practices (Avery, Bryant, Mathios, Kang, & Bell, 2006; Dommeyer, Baum, & Hanna, 2004; Donovan, Mader, & Shinsky, 2007).
The college to be investigated in this study has been practicing online student evaluation of teaching since 2009, as well. Given that the response rate to online course evaluation form was declared to be unsatisfactory in School Administration Board Meeting in 2011, it seems that the university governance is in need of suggestions for increasing student participation. Consistent with this end, this study attempts to explore the reasons why students participate or not into online course evaluation. In a way, describing who are involved or not, it can also provide a means to evaluate the probable bias in the results. Overall, it is expected that the findings, hearing the voice of the students, can contribute to improvement of online practice of student evaluation of teaching, leading to solutions, not only valid for this particular case but also for other higher education institutions across the Europe.
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1998). Qualitative Research for Education. An Introduction to Theory and Methods. Needham Heights: Allyn & Bacon. Davidovitch, N. (2009). Myths and facts about student survey of teaching: The links between students’ evaluations of faculty and course grades. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 6(7), 41-49. Dommeyer, C. J., Baum, P., & Hanna, R. W. (2002). College students’ attitudes toward methods of collecting teaching evaluations: In-class versus on-line. Journal of Education for Business, 78(11), 11-15. Donovan, J., Mader, C. E., &Shinsky, J. (2006). Constructive student feedback: Online vs. traditional course evaluations. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 5(3), 283-296. Gravestock, P. & Gregor-Greenleaf, E. (2008). Student Course Evaluations: Research, Models and Trends. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Heine , P., & Maddox, N. (2009). Student perceptions of the faculty course evaluation process: An exploratory study of gender and class differences. Research in Higher Education Journal, 3, 1-10. Kulik, J. A., & McKeachie, W. J. (1975). The evaluation of teachers in higher education. Review of Research in Education, 3, 210-240. Nowell, C., Gale, L. R., & Handley, B. (2010). Assessing faculty performance using student evaluations of teaching in an uncontrolled setting. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 35(4), 463-475. Serdyukova, N., Tatum, B. C., & Serdyukov, P. (2010). Student evaluations of courses and teachers. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 3, 180-189. Spooren, P., & Mortelmans, D. (2006). Teacher professionalism and student evaluation of teaching: Will better teachers receive higher ratings and will better students give higher ratings? Educational Studies, 32(2), 201-214. Wagenaar, T. C. (1995). Student evaluation of teaching: Some cautions and suggestions. Teaching Sociology, 23(1), 64-68. Zakka, J. S. (2009). End of semester student evaluation of teaching effectiveness questionnaires: An indicator of teaching quality. Oxford Journal, 8(1), 233-246.
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