A group of black students at Emory are demanding that students be asked to report their professors’ “microaggressions” in course evaluations, reports the Emory Wheel. If the demands are met, students also would be asked: “Do you think that this professor fits into the vision of Emory University being a community of care for individuals of all racial, gender, ability, and class identities?”
Students’ responses “would help to ensure that there are repercussions or sanctions for racist actions performed by professors.”
(Emory is a “community of care” for people of all abilities? I thought it was a selective university for high-ability students.)
“A microaggression can be unintentional,” writes the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Catherine Sevcenko. “Students don’t agree on what constitutes a microaggression. Under these conditions, “university-level teaching would simply be impossible.”
Surveying students is a lousy way to evaluate professors’ teaching, according to two new studies, reports NPR.
Student rating often are “the only method a university uses to monitor the quality of teaching,” writes Anya Kamenetz.
Fewer than half of students complete the survey form, according to An Evaluation of Course Evaluations. Very happy or very unhappy students are more likely to respond, says Philip Stark, a Berkeley statistics prof.
When results are averaged, the professor with lots of very high and very low ratings looks like the one that everyone rates “satisfactory.”
Michele Pellizzari, an economics professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, believes “course evaluations may … measure, and thus motivate, the opposite of good teaching,” writes Kamenetz.
In an experiment in Milan, Pellizzari measured economics students’ cognitive skills, then evaluated their professors’ teaching ability by how well students did in the next course in the sequence.
The better the professors were, as measured by their students’ grades in later classes, the lower their ratings from students.
Most students appeared to dislike tougher teachers, even if the hard work paid off in the next class. However, classes with highly skilled students gave high marks to highly skilled teachers, the study found.
“An easy-A prof may earn five stars in return for handing out good grades,” writes Kamenetz. But research suggest leniency “does the students no long-term favors.”