Teacher Evaluations at University could matter.

These days we’re having exams again here at University. With each exam paper we also hand out teacher evaluation papers. This gives students the chance to grade their instructor and to give feedback. While I strongly disagree with the timing (during the exams – students will always try to “impress” the instructor during the exam or will be afraid of being watched) I do think that some kind of feedback system is necessary.

Unfortunately most students don’t think so. I would estimate that roughly 80% of our students don’t fill out the evaluation forms honestly. They just tick some good marks just in case somebody figures out who wrote it. After having talked with a lot of students why they don’t give honest feedback most of them jumped onto that explanation. Fear. Scared of having disadvantages when being to honest or when criticizing the instructor. Furthermore they say ‘nothing’s gonna change anyways’ or ‘it doesn’t matter, I’m done’.

That is so annoying! I do understand that ‘fear factor’ (which could be eliminated by having online / electronic evaluations) but everything else is just pure laziness. It’s the only chance you can rate or grade your instructor and you let it pass? Then nothing’s gonna change. If someone does a bad job he or she has to know. Just as when somebody’s doing a great job – it’s nice to get positive feedback as well!

So here’s a big wake-up call to students everywhere: Your feedback does matter. If you don’t say honestly what’s going on in class, who else is supposed to do it? Positive feedback as well as constructive criticism is something very valuable and the only chance to influence future classes. So please don’t be afraid, take a few minutes time and share your honest thoughts.

Thank you very much.

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