Imperfect measures

Assessing our instructors, or ourselves as instructors is a messy business. Measuring student output (grades) can be interpreted too widely. Is an instructor with a high classroom average trying to buy positive reviews, too tired to give constructive feedback, or just a really effective teacher?

The British Journal of Educational Technology has an article that reviews the differences between paper-based versus online surveys of students?

The blogger New Kid in the Hallway wonders about the instructor evaluation techniques and why results may differ from a previous semester, her perceptions, or her deans perception.

There are a few things going on here: are the student surveys effective? What are they measuring? Are students taught to provide effective feedback ever? If something works one semester, resulting in positive evaluations, why can it fail in a following semester? If there are that many variables, is it worth wondering if paper or online surveys are better, richer, or more timely?

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