- An American Association of University Professors committee surveyed 9,000 faculty across the U.S. about teaching evaluations.
- Inside Higher Ed reports key responses include the fact that fewer students are filling out evaluations, their personal commentary is bleeding into formal evaluations, and those formal evaluations are relying too heavily on subjective student comments.
- Faculty also reported much lower response rates for online evaluations — 20-40% versus 80% or higher — little control over the content of evaluations that span very different fields, and, for adjuncts, pressure to pass students who deserve to fail so they write more favorable evaluations, according to the article.
The AAUP survey was a sprawling look at evaluation practices across colleges and universities, collecting perhaps the most comprehensive data about the variation across schools. Besides student evaluations, respondents discussed other elements of teaching evaluations. Inside Higher Ed reports that about half of respondents said they were “evaluated frequently” by administrators, and two-thirds said they were by peers. Faculty reported campus teaching and learning centers were mostly used for technological rather than pedagogical challenges, and while most campuses have mentoring programs for junior faculty, few respondents reported being involved in one.
Interestingly enough, while student evaluations have been near universally attacked, faculty respondents overwhelmingly said institutions should evaluate teaching as aggressively as they do scholarship.