Course evalulations represent an excellent source of data for teaching improvement; however, they can also feel intensely personal. Instructors should keep the following in mind while interpreting their course evaluations:
- Course evaluations are student perceptions.
- Course evaluations are not faculty evaluations or measures of student learning.
- Research indicates that despite some indications of bias, course evaluations remain the best representation of teaching effectiveness, and are highly correlated with other measures of teaching quality (Linse, 2017).
Misconceptions about course evaluations abound; this paper from IDEA provides a discussion of these misconceptions. Kevin Gannon discusses his thoughts about course evaluations in a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Finally, Vanderbilt University has an excellent guide to assist you in intepreting your course evaluations and using them to document your teaching effectiveness.