Monday, April 24, 2006

Evaluations Shmevaluations!

As I was handing out the fill-in-the-bubble course evaluation sheets to my students today, I suddenly realized that I didn't care about them. Not even a little. I also realized that this feeling was not new; I must have slowly stopped caring about them long ago.

I do my best. I'm not new to the education game, so what appears in the evaluations is unlikely to have any bearing on how I teach my classes. Up until this point in my life, students have found my classes challenging and enjoyable, so if I suddenly started getting bad evaluations it would take a decade or so for them to affect my teaching.

It isn't that I don't care how much students learn, or how much they like the classes ... it is the evaluations I don't care about. Of how much value can a scantron sheet I receive months later be in self-reflection?

So, my dear students, if you liked/hated some aspect of the course, or you found some part particularly fascinating/remedial, by all means fill out the form ... but more importantly, tell me to my face. Soon. BEFORE the summer when I will no doubt forget all the little details of the class. Constructive, face-to-face critique will likely have an effect on how I teach my classes, but a fill-in-the-bubble numerical score probably won't.


  1. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Oh -- you actually get to see those evaluations? I thought they were examined by some shadowy third-party who used them to judge your future status at the university.

    I guess, at best, they're just a silly nuisance created by some touchy-feely student rights group, and, at worst, they're actually used to find those professors that may be a bar to a high graduation rate.

    If they're anything like the "Graduating Student Evaluations" I had to process at my job in my school's Records Dept., I'd suspect that a good many of them are just thrown away.

  2. I actually heard a glowing review from a friend today that I didn't even know had taken you, but rest assured you (pardon the cheesy non-sexual compliment) always get my recommendation Doc.