Academic journal article International Education Studies

Lecturer's Gender and Their Valuation of Student Evaluation of Teaching

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Lecturer's Gender and Their Valuation of Student Evaluation of Teaching

Article excerpt

Abstract

Student evaluation of teaching (SET) is carried out every semester at Malaysian universities and lecturers are evaluated based on student ratings. But very little is researched about what lecturers actually think about SET and whether it serves any meaningful purpose at all. This quantitative study involving six public universities on the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia examines the extent to which male and female lecturers value their student evaluations of teaching (SET) and if their valuations differ significantly by gender. The study also elicits perceptions of male and female lecturers on the formative and summative functions the SET serves. A survey questionnaire comprising 29 Likert-scale items was employed to obtain data for this study. The respondents comprised 137 language instructors of English and Arabic proficiency courses for undergraduates from those six universities. Data were analysed descriptively and inferentially using descriptive statistics and independent sample t-test. The study produces several outcomes. The study found that although male lecturers value SET higher than their female colleagues, no significant differences are observed in their valuation of SET by gender. Also of significance is the observation that lecturers of both gender found SET more useful for formative rather than summative functions. This study itself is significant in order to understand the lecturers' perceptions of SET which will stimulate further discussions and thinking around the issue of strengthening the teaching practice as SET itself can be an effective tool for lecturer's development if lecturers themselves understand and value the process.

Keywords: student evaluation of teaching, Malaysian universities, gender, formative, summative

1. Introduction

Iyamu and Aduwa (2005) define student evaluation of teaching (SET) as a periodic evaluation of teacher's performance by students which involves systematic gathering and analysis of information on the basis of which decisions are taken regarding the effectiveness, efficiency and/or desire of the university to promote effective learning. It is known that higher education has always placed the importance of evaluating academic staff to ensure that they are teaching in ways most conducive to learning (Kogan, Schoenfeld-Tacher, & Hellyer, 2010). Meanwhile, it has been assumed that students are in the best position to know whether the teaching they receive is adequate and whether they are learning (Clayson & Haley, 1990).

SET serves a range of purposes, both formative and summative. SET serves purposes ranging from diagnostic feedback in order to improve teaching to tenure and promotion (Marsh, 1984). The formative functions of SET include the improvement of classroom instruction, student learning, and the fostering of professional growth of the teacher. For summative purposes, the results of SET are used for administrative/personnel decisions like promotion, demotion, salary increase, dismissal, awards and/or meeting public accountability demands.

A majority of educational institutions incorporate some form of student evaluation to assess teaching effectiveness (Comm & Manthaisel, 1998). In Malaysia, almost all universities use student evaluation as a measure of lecturers' performance (Harun, Dazz, Saaludin, & Che-Wan-Ahmad, 2011). Most lecturers have conducted a student evaluation at some stage during their teaching careers (Sulong, 2014). However, very few studies have been carried out to examine how lecturers view student evaluation of them although student rating can have a significant impact on them in the way they teach and also in their future career development. As argued by Kogan et al. (2010), studies linking SET to their impact on lecturers have largely been neglected. There are certainly valid issues confronting lecturers with regards to SET and they need addressing. Among these are: What do lecturers feel about SET? …

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