Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Note 9: Student Evaluations

Friday December 11, 2015 by Anonymous (not verified)

Good morning, everyone,

In this brief window between the end of classes and final exams, I offer several resources on the topic that is never far from many of our minds:  student evaluations.  As teaching and learning becomes more public, and data more accessible, student evaluation data are subject to increased scrutiny in and out of the academy.  And, even if as professors we manage to put their influence on our work in perspective, we have no way of knowing how others will interpret the data.  In the short run, we are subject to the system already in place; in the near future, I hope we will be able to take some time to discuss student course evaluations face-to-face.  For now, if you have even a few minutes, you might find the attached paper,  “Student Ratings of Teaching: A Summary of Research and Literature” (Benton & Cashin, 2012) a document worth scanning. 

You might also be interested in Cain-Miller’s New York Times’ op-ed, “Is the Professor Bossy or Brilliant? Much Depends on Gender” (2015, February). The article contains a link to Benjamin Schmidt’s (Northwestern) fascinating interactive chart built from 14 million ratemyprofessor.com reviews. Fascinating, and no doubt open to significant interpretation and discussion.

I’ll write next week, offering some research on grading trends at research-intensive universities.  I’ll take a two-week hiatus for the winter holidays and resume Considering Teaching & Learning on January 8, 2016 with some research on course redesign, hopefully helpful to those of you who are using early January to pull together your Spring course – I know I’ll be doing the same.

With good wishes,


Nancy S. Niemi, Ph.D.
Director, Faculty Teaching Initiatives

Supplementary Materials and Resources

Contact Information 

Contact Dr. Niemi via email Nancy.Niemi@yale.edu or phone 203.432.8644 with thoughts about the collection and/or to receive these notes in your inbox.