Validity of Student Evaluations of Teaching



Student evaluations of teaching dominate the assessment of instructional quality in America’s colleges and universities. Yet the connections between student assessments of instructional quality and actual teaching effectiveness are not well established. In this chapter, the strength of these connections is examined and found wanting. Student evaluations of teaching are strongly influenced by a number of factors not related to subsequent student achievement, and are particularly susceptible to biases attributable to instructor enthusiasm, expressiveness, and grading policy. Furthermore, student evaluations of teaching are found to be relatively unaffected by course content.

A proposal to more firmly establish the relation between selected items on student evaluations of teaching forms and student achievement, using the performance of students in follow-on courses as an outcome measure, is also examined.


Student Learning Convergent Validity Student Achievement Teaching Effectiveness Student Evaluation 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2003

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