Research on Student Evaluations of Teaching – a Tricky Enterprise

Political scientists Mirya Holman and Rebecca Kreitzer have assembled over 74 peer-reviewed articles demonstrating the problems with using Student Evaluations of Teaching as measures of faculty teaching success. Not only are there threats to internal validity, there is demonstrated bias against women and faculty of color. Here is a link to Professor Kreitzman’s website, where she hosts a comprehensive google doc as well as summaries of the articles.

Kreitzer website: Google Doc re Student Evaluations of Teaching

Evidence of Bias in Standard Evaluations of Teaching – from Holman & Kreitzer 2019

Standardized student course evaluations play an important role in the review of faculty for merit raises, reappointment, tenure, and promotion. While research recognizes course evaluations are an imperfect measure, the literature indicates many of the problems with course evaluations are unevenly distributed across men and women and across white faculty and faculty of color. Social science research has documented gendered evaluation processes in a variety of institutional settings, including the academic workplace. These processes systematically put women at a disadvantage when their performance is being rated. Most recent exploratory studies of students’ evaluation of college and university teaching suggest that the same processes at work elsewhere in society are present when students evaluate professors. If you are interested in better understanding the concerns of bias with courses evaluations, review the archive of classic and recent research on this issue by following the links below. These resources are a collaboration with Mirya Holman (Tulane) and Ellen Key (Appalachian State University).

Suggested Citation: Holman, Mirya, Ellen Key and Rebecca Kreitzer. 2019. “Evidence of Bias in Standard Evaluations of Teaching.”