Monday, November 26, 2012

The Value of Student Evaluations of Teaching

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post “The Value of Student Evaluations of Teaching” [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Bill Brescia of the DrEd list wrote: “We are looking for best practices to solicit student feedback on the teaching quality of individual faculty members where in some cases a fairly large number of faculty are involved in a single course. What mechanism do you use to survey the students?”

The value of student evaluations is a hotly contested topic, witness the 496,000 hits at generated by a Google search for “Student Evaluations” (with the quotes) on 26 Nov 2012 12:58-0800

Judging from my own experience, and after careful consideration of the above hits, my opinion is that:

a. Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET’s) are useful for gauging the affective impact of teaching, but are worse than useless for gauging the cognitive impact - see e.g. “Student Evaluations of Teaching Are Not Valid Gauges of Teaching Performance - Yet Again!” [Hake (2012)] at

b. The cognitive impact of teaching is best measured by average normalized pre-to-post-test gains on "Concept Inventories" - see e.g., “The Impact of Concept Inventories On Physics Education and It’s Relevance For Engineering Education” [Hake (2011)] at

To access the complete 6 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles:
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs:

REFERENCES [URL shortened by and accessed on 26 Nov 2012.]
Hake, R.R. 2012. “The Value of Student Evaluations of Teaching,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 26 Nov 2012 13:35:35-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

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