One should never look at teaching evaluations in the middle of the workweek. Or the middle of the term, really. I don't feel like my evals are ever bad, but they're so contradictory that it worries me how on earth they'd actually be factored into promotion and tenure. I grade tough, it's true. And I explain that at the beginning of the course and what to do to avoid it.

My favorite comment of this round: "[students here] don't agree with 'the class average was a B, and that's above average'." Funny, I wasn't aware that was a matter that the average of your grades was a matter that could be disagreed with.

Really, this isn't so surprising. It happened at both universities I've taught at previously in the first terms, but this feels like - probably because it's the most current case - the most outlandish example.


4 Responses to “Evals”
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af said...

On my paper grading rubric for large classes, I say that to pass, the paper must meet these following terribly stringent requirements: address the assigned topic, reflect some knowledge of the assigned reading, and not be plagiarized. If they do that, they get a 60; there are additional points for actually making an argument, writing clearly, etc. I've had students complain that 60 is too low!

I hate reading evals. I'm with Joseph Epstein, who said of his students' complaints, "Such criticisms roll right off my back, like buckshot off of a duck's heart." (He was *not* a good teacher, but he's a good essayist.)

February 17, 2010 at 9:05 PM
profacero said...

Ditto everything AF said.

Right now I have it so that if they actually make an argument and write clearly, they have to get a B-. I have one complaining who wrote clearly but only summarized the text in question and made vague/stereotypical contextual commentary. I gave him a C and he is upset. Other people are upset because just with correct grammar, the prescribed length, and showing some knowledge of the reading they did not get As.

February 25, 2010 at 11:07 PM
bitternsweet said...

Once again: why I stopped reading my student evals two years ago: no matter what, no matter how good most of them are ... they lead to grief, self-doubt, and (for me, anyway) sleepless nights.

And: hey! You've gussied up the digs here. Looks nice.

March 3, 2010 at 8:34 AM
Dr. Curmudgeon said...

I had a nice talk with my chair about the evals. What worried me was that this was the first place I've been when anyone could explain how the evals were quantified, and I - not unexpectedly - suffer for making them do rewrites.

Fortunately, my chair is understanding about that and promises to both explain and cheer that on. She also notes - and this has happened at the other places I've taught - that once it becomes expected by students, evals will go up. So I just need a bit more of a reputation, I guess.

Also, glad to hear the new look of the blog is getting some approval. I figured it was time.

March 9, 2010 at 1:40 PM