Student Evaluations: Widespread And Controversial

Jerome Hart Photography CONTROVERSIAL: Widespread use of student evaluations on campuses has become a hot topic, according to Terry Favero, an assistant professor of biology who teaches human anatomy at the University of Portland in Oregon. Teaching evaluations have become a rite of passage in nearly all college courses. Shortly before the final exam, students typically complete a standardized form that asks general questions on aspects such as course organization, level of difficulty,

Ricki Lewis
Apr 26, 1998
Jerome Hart Photography

CONTROVERSIAL: Widespread use of student evaluations on campuses has become a hot topic, according to Terry Favero, an assistant professor of biology who teaches human anatomy at the University of Portland in Oregon.
Teaching evaluations have become a rite of passage in nearly all college courses. Shortly before the final exam, students typically complete a standardized form that asks general questions on aspects such as course organization, level of difficulty, quality of lectures, grading fairness, and instructor accessibility; in many cases, students can add specific comments.

"The idea of student evaluations as an assessment tool to help instructors figure out how well they are teaching has become a hot topic on most campuses," relates Terry Favero, an assistant professor of biology who teaches human anatomy at the University of Portland in Oregon. Fueling the fire is a trend to use evaluations in promotion and tenure decisions--a...