Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

The Underlying Student Reasons for Rating SET Questionnaire Items: How Student Solve the Problem of Filling out Questionnaires

Academic journal article Educational Research Quarterly

The Underlying Student Reasons for Rating SET Questionnaire Items: How Student Solve the Problem of Filling out Questionnaires

Article excerpt

In order to enhance the quality of teaching in higher education establishments, as "stakeholders" of the institution, the opinions of students related to the teaching they receive are given precedence. This is achieved by using mandatory SET questionnaires on a routine basis in colleges and universities throughout the world. This study reports the findings of the SET questionnaires which were completed by 138 junior students from the Education Faculty at Gazi University (Turkey). In order to find answers to the research questions: 1) "To what extent do the students' perceptions vary for a specific item?" 2) "What is the relationship between reasons and ratings given by students for a specific item?", the qualitative data has been analyzed to determine the reasons given by the students for their ratings of closed-end items, the relationships between these reasons, and the students' own perceptions of their initial interpretations of the questions put to them. One of the most important results is that students' perceptions change even for the so called "clear-cut" questions. This shows that the item rating task, which is an ill structured problem solving process in nature, is highly affected by the personal differences.

Introduction

In order to enhance the quality of teaching in higher education establishments, as a stakeholder of the institution, the opinions of students in relation to the teaching they receive are given precedence. In other words, student evaluation feedback are being used to improve teaching (Murray, Jelley, and Renaud, 1996). One commonly used approach of obtaining their opinion is by utilizing Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) questionnaires.

Historical Continuum Perspective

The usage of student opinions for evaluating college teaching and the issues affecting it go back to die early 1900s, especially to the pioneering study of Remmers (1927, 1928, 1930), Remmers and Brandenburg. (1927), Remmers et ai(1949).

According to Centra (1993), studies related to die idea of Student Evaluation of Teaching and usage of related questionnaires can be categorized into four historical time frames. The first stage covers studies dominated by die work of Remmers and his colleagues in Purdue University during the time period of 1927- 1960. They developed The Purdue Rating Scale for Instructors and conducted pioneering psychometric analysis to support their development. The second stage covers the time period of the 1960s. During this period, usages of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) questionnaires were almost totally voluntary.

The third stage encompassing the time period of the 1970s can be considered as the golden period of research related to the SETs. For formative and summative purposes, these studies tried to establish the validity and utility of SET questionnaires. According to Centra (1993), the final stage covers the period of 1980-1993 in which research mainly dealt with clarifying and amplifying previous findings.

During the last decade, studies focused on the use of technology, applications of different methods and usages of SETs. Some examples are alignment student-teacher expectations for quality (Bastick, 2002a, 2002b), development of SET narratives by faculty (Franklin, 2001) and studies of many researchers can be considered as fundamental in this area (Seldin, 1993; Abrami, 1989; Wagenaar, 1995; Abrami et aL, 1990; Hobson and Talbot, 2001; Grant, 1998).

However, despite more than 2000 studies having been carried out, the precision, validity and reliability of the mediod remain a matter of concern (Centra, 2003) and further instructive and reliable research is required to build upon the good work done so far in the field. Quantitative literature for SET studies

The SET literature can be divided into four groups according to their research subjects: Students, Faculty, Courses, and Other Variables (administrative, environmental, etc. …

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