Event Title

Student Opinion Surveys: What's the Use?

Location

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

Start Date

19-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

PURPOSE: The utilization and reliability of Student Opinion Surveys have sparked debates within academia for decades, as tenure and promotion decisions for faculty are often informed by these evaluations. What motivates students to accurately reflect their opinion of a faculty member’s teaching ability? Are students aware of their role in these administrative decisions? Are there differences in expectations among students, faculty, and administration as to the use of these instruments? METHODS AND MATERIALS: The authors conducted a review of literature looking for the student’s perspective on these surveys and explored possible theories to address these research questions. ANALYSES: A qualitative grounded theory method was used to analyze more than 20 research studies pertaining to Student Opinion Surveys and major themes were identified. RESULTS: There is a communication gap between students, faculty, and administration as to the purpose of Student Opinion Surveys, a misunderstanding of what students are evaluating and why, and a mistrust of survey results and their consequences; yet, these surveys continue to be used for staffing decisions based on their results. Issues of survey fatigue, concerns about confidentiality, and student cultural norms are also identified. CONCLUSIONS: Communication from faculty and administration about the purpose of the surveys is essential to ensuring accuracy and dependability of the results, while recognition of the students’ perspective is needed to develop valid and reliable instruments. Creating a shared understanding regarding the importance of Student Opinion Surveys can assist in the development of effective surveys for assessing teaching ability and ensuring student learning.

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Apr 19th, 3:30 PM

Student Opinion Surveys: What's the Use?

Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall

PURPOSE: The utilization and reliability of Student Opinion Surveys have sparked debates within academia for decades, as tenure and promotion decisions for faculty are often informed by these evaluations. What motivates students to accurately reflect their opinion of a faculty member’s teaching ability? Are students aware of their role in these administrative decisions? Are there differences in expectations among students, faculty, and administration as to the use of these instruments? METHODS AND MATERIALS: The authors conducted a review of literature looking for the student’s perspective on these surveys and explored possible theories to address these research questions. ANALYSES: A qualitative grounded theory method was used to analyze more than 20 research studies pertaining to Student Opinion Surveys and major themes were identified. RESULTS: There is a communication gap between students, faculty, and administration as to the purpose of Student Opinion Surveys, a misunderstanding of what students are evaluating and why, and a mistrust of survey results and their consequences; yet, these surveys continue to be used for staffing decisions based on their results. Issues of survey fatigue, concerns about confidentiality, and student cultural norms are also identified. CONCLUSIONS: Communication from faculty and administration about the purpose of the surveys is essential to ensuring accuracy and dependability of the results, while recognition of the students’ perspective is needed to develop valid and reliable instruments. Creating a shared understanding regarding the importance of Student Opinion Surveys can assist in the development of effective surveys for assessing teaching ability and ensuring student learning.