Paul's Perambulations a personal blog

May 14, 2012

Student course evaluations — what do they mean, how should they be used?

Filed under: Education,Work — admin @ 5:42 pm

Put my Spring grades in a couple of days ago. Of 21 students, there were two A’s (one of them was almost a last-minute gift with the help of departmental extra credit), three A-‘s, but no B+’s, and so on. Wonder what my course evaluations will look like considering freshmen not infrequently let me know that they had  4.0 GPAs in high school (all A’s — geniuses — not!)?  I believe my grading may be lower than the average for comparable sections and this information would be  useful for comparison purposes, but this information is not available to faculty.  A significant issue is that the facultypopularity numbers get rank ordered, and the average rank is typically 4.0 calculated across a range of 1.0 (lowest) to 5.0 (highest), not 3.0.  Nice, but what that means is that one or two students  not happy with you (or their grades) can give you a 1.0 or 2.0 and significantly affect your overall ranking. I don’t believe I’ve ever been 3.0 or lower (thinking back over decades, including the years I did this before they were University mandated), but that doesn’t count for much in itself. So there are pros and cons to these rankings and how they are used. And life goes on.

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