Archive for May 20, 2011

Student evaluations of teaching don’t correlate with learning gains

The best part of this post from Hake comes at the end, where he cites six published accounts of dramatic improvement in learning with dramatic decline in student teaching evaluations. Administrators rely heavily on student evaluations of teaching, but the reality is, they don’t correlate with good teaching. Students don’t necessarily “like” teaching that makes them think.

Unfortunately for my academic career, I gradually caught on to the fact that students’ conceptual understanding of physics was not substantively increased by traditional pedagogy. As described in Hake (1987, 1991, 1992, 2002c) and Tobias & Hake (1988), I converted to the “Arons Advocated Method” [Hake (2004c)] of “interactive engagement.” This resulted in average normalized gains on the “Mechanics Diagnostic” test or “Force Concept Inventory” that ranged from 0.54 to 0.65 [Hake (1998b), Table 1c] as compared to the gain of about 0.2 typically obtained in traditional introductory mechanics courses [Hake (1998a)].

But my EPA’s for “overall evaluation of professor,” sometimes dipped to as low as 1.67 (C-), and never returned to the 3.38 high that I had garnered by using traditional ineffective methods of introductory physics instruction. My department chair and his executive committee, convinced by the likes of Peter Cohen (1981, 1990) that SET’s are valid measures of the cognitive impact of introductory courses, took a very dim view of both my teaching and my educational activities.

via LISTSERV 16.0 – AERA-L Archives.

May 20, 2011 at 8:19 am 15 comments


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