Student ratings, as I’ve indicated previously, are among the types of data that are used most frequently for making teaching-related tenure decisions. They are also the measure of teaching adequacy at the college level about which we have the most information concerning validity, reliability, generality, and the impact of extraneous variables (Cashin, 1995). Some research findings concerning each of these will be summarized in this chapter.*
Do student ratings of teaching really measure what they are supposed to measure? That is, are the items that usually appear on teaching rating forms really aspects of teaching effectiveness, and do students have the opportunity and experience to make the observations and judgments needed to rate them? These questions are difficult to answer definitively because, as I’ve indicated previously, there is no generally accepted definition of teaching effectiveness. That said, there is considerable agreement on the appropriateness of a few criteria for judging teaching effectiveness. These include student learning, instructor’s self-ratings, administrator’s ratings, colleague’s ratings, and student responses to open-ended questions. Some of the data relevant to the relationship (correlation) between each of these criteria and student ratings of teaching are summarized in this section.
*My primary source for this chapter was Cashin (1995). It contains an excellent bibliography for initiating a search of this literature.