I am absolutely convinced that all of this endless belly-aching about the horrible unfairness of student evaluations comes from people who are shitty teachers. Be a good teacher, and students will adore you and write you the kind of evaluations that will make you and your tenure committee weep.
Here are some alternatives to student evaluations the article proposes:
To do a review of the materials that professors use to create classes.
“Show me your stuff,” Stark says. “Syllabi, handouts, exams, video recordings of class, samples of students’ work.”
First of all, who in the fuck’s name are you and why should you opinion matter more than that of my students who were actually in the classroom? Second of all, what a great joy it will be to have one’s work evaluated by somebody who thinks that teaching is about syllabi, handouts and exams.
“Let me know how your students do when they graduate.”
How do they do what, doofus? Speak Spanish? Save for tracking them down all over the planet and speaking to them, there is no way whatsoever to measure that.
“That seems like a much more holistic appraisal than simply asking students what they think.”
I’m sure this creature gets really sucky student evaluations. And I’m sure it never occurs to him that this happens because he despises the idea of asking students what they think so much.
According to the idiots who inspired this article, students are incapable of forming an opinion on the quality of teaching but they can be used to spy on professors:
Both Pellizzari and Stark agree that student surveys should be used in a much more limited way, to capture student satisfaction. And they could perhaps be used to gather information on factual points like whether the professor showed up on time or canceled class more than once or twice.
I really like the phrase “gather information.” What a great way to foster a good working environment in the classroom. Just use students to gather information on professors. Who cares about their stupid opinions when they can be used to gather info?
What lies behind this approach is, of course, a profound contempt for students:
“If you make your students do well in their academic career, you get worse evaluations from your students,” Pellizzari said. Students, by and large, don’t enjoy learning from a taskmaster, even if it does them some good.”
In my long teaching experience, students really want to learn and appreciate educators who teach them well. I meet an exception to this rule maybe once a year and normally end up discovering that the student’s problem was none other than my incapacity to engage.