How Do You Want Your Students To Assess You?

How Do You Want Your Students To Assess You?


Most colleges and universities have students fill out forms to evaluate their instructors’ performance at the end of the term. Semesters are just beginning around now, but it is not too early to start thinking about those evaluations. One study found that “students’ ratings 2 weeks into the semester did not differ from end-of-semester evaluations.”

There are lots of problems with typical student evaluations of professors (see here and here, for example, and this post by Michael LaBossiere at A Philosopher’s Blog), but they are probably here to stay. They can be changed, though, and supplemented. I have heard of departments and individual professors adding questions to the standard forms, or gathering up their own feedback separately.

With that in mind, I thought it might be worth discussing what a good version of a student evaluation of a philosophy course and instructor would look like. Which questions should be asked? What form should the answers take? When and how often during the term should the evaluation take place? What procedures should be in place for administering the evaluation? And, most importantly, what kind of chocolate should you give to your students just before they evaluate you?

 (art: Roy Lichtenstein, Mirror #10)

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