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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Should teachers be evaluated by students?

    Sometimes students are asked to evaluate their teachers after each and every learning session in some universities and collages, since it is believed that the system has many advantages for both the teachers and students. But this system of evaluation of teachers by their students has its own share of pros and cons.
    The points which come to my mind regarding the drawbacks in student assessment are:
    • The students are usually younger and comparatively less knowledable than the teachers.
    • The constant student assessment would lead to questioning of teachers every action and could lead to poor discipline in the classroom.
    • In order to gain a better evaluation report, the teachers would try to seek to please each of the students by diluting the study requirements. This will result in lowering the educational standards, and ruin the students' academic performance in the long run.

    On the other hand, the plus point of student assessment might be the following reasons:
    • The teacher’s performance might improve due to the feedback provided by the student. If the student-centered teaching methods are used, then the learning method can be successful.
    • This process of writing evaluation might help students to think independently, and they should be encouraged to learn even if it means challenging their teachers' thinking.
    • I think this evaluation process can be broken into the following categories depending on the age break up:
    1. For under 15 kids - The teachers should be graded on the performance/grades of the students assigned to them - if they aren't passing then the teacher may not being doing her/his job good enough.
    2. For the High School kids - It should be a combination of performance and personal opinion/viewpoint. Some kids are very vindictive during this age period if they don't think a teacher "likes them".
    3. As for college, maybe the students input should be really considered because if the professor/teacher is either talking over their heads or under it can make or break a grade.

    This is not to suggest that a teacher should be fired upon one bad review from a student, but, further evaluation of the board should be pursued if they receive more than a, say 20% bad rating from the students

    Both sides have their plus points but I really do not think the students are in a position to judge teachers, since teachers and students are on 2 different levels. At most students can offer suggestions but not judge. A proper teacher is one who is an experienced learned person. In some cases they are masters in their fields. The teachers should be judges by their own fellow teachers, since they are on the same level. But when they go in to evaluate a teacher, the evaluators should study the teachers after going thru the student suggestions. This way a proper evaluation can be done. In order to make sure that it is impartial, these evaluations should be surprise evaluations and done by teachers who have a reputation of being impartial and honest.