Profiling Teacher/Teaching Using Descriptors Derived from Qualitative Feedback: Formative and Summative Applications
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- Pan, D., Tan, G.S.H., Ragupathi, K. et al. Res High Educ (2009) 50: 73. doi:10.1007/s11162-008-9109-4
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Considerable work has been done on student evaluation of teaching/teachers, but reservations remain about its use for summative purposes. Student ratings are not universally accepted as being reliable, nor can they provide really meaningful information. Qualitative comments can provide a better understanding but they tend not to be user-friendly from lack of structure and connectedness. This study attempts to devise a method for ‘quantifying’ students’ comments to increase their usefulness in complementing/confirming ratings. The quantified results enable the profile construction of what students regard as an effective/ineffective teacher, and enable identification of strengths and weaknesses. Our findings counter some commonly held assumptions, including those which held that high ratings are dependent on small class size and ‘dumbing down’ of courses and the consequent expectation of high grades. The findings also indicate that students value teaching quality more than teacher characteristics, suggesting their ability to make valid judgments about teaching effectiveness.