Interpreting Student Evaluations

Join us for an education session on student evaluations and how to interpret the numbers involved.

March 11, 1:00 – 2:30pm (Faculty Centre)

Hosted by the MRFA’s Faculty Evaluation Committee.

SETs do not measure teaching effectiveness and students do not learn from more highly rated professors. SETs measure satisfaction, that is, “a happy or pleased feeling because of something that you did or something that happened to you.” One’s satisfaction with a specific class depends on many factors including attributes of a rater, a professor, and a situation. Moreover, SETs are influenced by numerous factors beyond professors’ control irrespective of factors that determined one’s satisfaction. What do the numbers mean? If you score below the departmental average, are your students less satisfied? Are you a bad teacher? What does it mean if your ratings are 1 point below the departmental, faculty or university means? What are outliers and what are their effects on your ratings? Is it in fact even appropriate to summarize ordinal scales using a means? What do response rates and class size have to do with it? What do the numbers mean and what effect do they have on you?