Is student evaluation of teaching worthwhile? An analytical framework for answering the question

Abstract

Purpose – To present a framework to facilitate comprehension of research on the effectiveness of the teaching evaluation process. Design/methodology/approach – A comprehensive review of the literature that identifies common categories and factors that can be used to construct an analytical framework. Findings – Identifies student related, course related and teacher related aspects of research on teaching evaluations. Factors commonly addressed within these aspects are also identified. Research limitations/implications – Use of the framework to analyse the literature on the student evaluation of teaching (SET) process leads to the view that the time is right to explore other methods of assessing classroom dynamics that could supplement the conventional teacher evaluation process. Practical implications – Educational literature is replete with studies of the SET system, yet due to the preponderance of these studies, it is difficult to take an overview on the effectiveness of this system. On the basis of a comprehensive survey of the literature, this paper identifies and discusses the central factors influencing SET scores. These factors are then presented in a comprehensible table that can be used as a reference point for researchers and practitioners wishing to examine the effectiveness of the SET system. Originality/value – The paper is one of the few to attempt to make sense of the myriad of studies on teacher evaluation and to develop a framework to facilitate analysis of the effectiveness of the SET system.

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