Tag Archives: evaluations

Grade inflation and teaching evaluations

I recently got my teaching evaluations back for a graduate course on approximation algorithms that I taught in the spring quarter.  They were significantly better reviews than I’ve received in my previous courses (which were okay – slightly above the College average).  I chalked it up to it being the first course I taught for which all the students in the room were taking it as an elective.  They wanted to be there.  If they didn’t like the course or me as a teacher, they probably wouldn’t be there.  The grades in the class were also higher than I’ve ever given before – all A’s and B’s.  I abhor grade inflation, but this might be thought of as grade inflation.  For an elective graduate course though?  I truly believe the performance should be almost uniformly high.  But perhaps the high evaluations were because of this higher-than-normal grade average?

In my last go at the undergrad algorithms course, the course evaluations were filled out the week after the second midterm, on which the students did not do very well at all.  (Yes, I probably made the midterm too difficult.)  My teaching evaluations?  Super low.  I do see how one could game the system …

Starting this fall, OSU is moving to electronic teaching evaluations.  If a student does not fill in an evaluation, they will get their grade several weeks late. If they want their grade as soon as humanly possible, they will first have to fill out an evaluation.  I predict that the number of filled evaluations will go up and I also predict that evaluation scores will drop.  I further predict that “bad” lecturers will see a bigger drop than “good” lectures.  Why?  Currently, evaluations are filled out in class.  So, to fill out an evaluation a student must be present on a given day.  “Bad” lecturers likely have lower attendance rates and students who do not like the course/lecturer are more likely to not attend lectures.  I’ll try to remember to report back …

From C's to A's
Created by: Masters Degree