Student Course Evaluations and the Evaluation of Teaching

While student course evaluations are an important tool for self-reflection, they remain an “imperfect indicator of teaching performance.” According to a 2014 memo from UOIT’s senior administration:

Over the last few years we have clarified that student course evaluations are only one imperfect indicator of teaching performance. We have done this clearly to the provincial auditors and we have made this point repeatedly to the Faculty Association…. In addition, the CA highlights many aspects of teaching that are captured by student course evaluations. Our obligation in our evaluation of teaching is to ensure that faculty members do not gain the impression that the academic leadership of the university considers student course evaluations as the primary or sole indicator of teaching performance. To this end we must only refer to student course evaluations in the evaluation of teaching together with reference to other indicators of teaching. Since they are not the sole indicator we should never rely on them in our evaluations in isolation as if they were. Negative or positive assessments of teaching performance that use course evaluation scores should do so in combination with other indicators. We need to dispel the confusion on this issue.

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