Response to "A Better Way to Evaluate Undergraduate Teaching"
By Steve Benton
With today’s blog we introduce IDEA’s inaugural Editorial Note
written as a response to Carl Wieman’s (2015) article, titled “A Better Way to Evaluate Undergraduate Teaching,” published in the January/February issue of Change. Wieman proposes an alternative to teacher evaluation based on an inventory of instructor self-reported teaching practices, which are suggested by education research to be associated with student learning. We find his critique of student ratings of instruction (SRIs), which he refers to as “student course evaluations,” to be a limited perspective. In this article we review and respond to Wieman’s critique, based on extensive research on validity and reliability of student ratings.
To contribute to the mission of designing better ways to evaluate teaching, we also describe a comprehensive system of faculty evaluation—widely supported by research and users—that includes SRIs as one of multiple measures of teaching effectiveness. In this system, evaluation is no longer considered just an end-of-a-course routine that instructors have to perform, but is instead seen as an ongoing developmental process that requires triangulation of multiple sources of evidence.