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Student Evaluation Reform

Student evaluations are the primary tool for assessment of teaching for non-senate faculty at UC.  Our contract bars student evaluations from being the sole criteria for reappointment decisions, but all too often, departments don't utilize other forms of assessment in a serious or rigorous way.  Research is piling up on the inherent limitations and bias of most current forms of student evaluation.  

UC-AFT is beginning a campaign in 2016-17 to reform the evaluation process and it's role in reappointment decisions. We will be holding workshops on every campus to discuss the current evaluation and reappointment system, changes we might like to see, and the ways we can begin to organize toward those changes.  Please get in touch with the field representative or local board members if you would like to help organize a workshop on your campus.

Below is a selection of recent articles and papers on bias and limitations of student evalautions.

Recent Articles

Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning Inside Higher Ed September 2016

How Student Evaluations are Skewed Against Women and Minority Professors The Century Foundation June 2016

Bias Against Female Instructors Insider Higher Ed January 2016

Students see male professors as brilliant geniuses, female professors as bossy and annoying Think Progress February 2015

Best Way for Professors to get Good Student Evaluations? Be Male. December 2014


Boring, A., & Ottoboni, B., & Starke, P.B. "Student evaluations of teaching (mostly) do not measure teaching effectiveness." (2016)

Wieman, Carl.  “A Better Way to  Evaluate Undergraduate teaching.” (2015)

Stark, Philip B., and Richard Freishtat. "An evaluation of course evaluations." Center for Teaching and Learning, University of California, Berkley (2014).

Clayson, D. (2009). Student evaluations of teaching: Are they related to what students learn?: A meta- analysis and review of the literature. Journal of Marketing Education, 31(1), 16–29. 

 Riniolo, Todd C., et al. "Hot or not: Do professors perceived as physically attractive receive higher student evaluations?." The Journal of General Psychology 133.1 (2006): 19-35.

​Radmacher, S. A., & Martin, D. J. (2001). Identifying significant predictors of student evaluations of faculty through hierarchical regression analysis. The Journal of Psychology, 135, 259–268.

​Basow, S. A. (2000). Best and worst professors: Gender patterns in students’ choices. Sex Roles, 43, 407–417. 

Trout, Paul.  "Deconstructing an Evaluation form.” (1999)

Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A. (1997). Making students’ evaluations of teaching effective- ness effective: The critical issues of validity, bias, and utility. American Psychologist, 52, 1187–1197. 

Freeman, H. R. (1994). Student evaluations of college instructors: Effects of type of course taught, instructor gender and gender role, and student gender. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 627–630.
Ambady, N., & Rosenthal, R. (1993). Half a minute: Predicting teacher evaluations from thin slices of nonverbal behavior and physical attractiveness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 431–441.

​Cashin, W. E., & Downey, R. G. (1992). Using global student rating items for summative evaluation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 563–572.

Buck, S., & Tiene, D. (1989). The impact of physical attractiveness, gender and teaching philosophy on teacher evaluations. Journal of Educational Research, 82, 172–177.