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Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness: an assessment of student perception and motivation

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Over the past century, student ratings have steadily continued to take precedence in faculty evaluation systems in North America and Australia, are increasingly reported in Asia and Europe and are attracting considerable attention in the Far East. Since student ratings are the most, if not the only, influential measure of teaching effectiveness, active participation by and meaningful input from students can be critical in the success of such teaching evaluation systems. Nevertheless, very few studies have looked into students' perception of the teaching evaluation system and their motivation to participate. This study employs expectancy theory to evaluate some key factors that motivate students to participate in the teaching evaluation process. The results show that students generally consider an improvement in teaching to be the most attractive outcome of a teaching evaluation system. The second most attractive outcome was using teaching evaluations to improve course content and format. Using teaching evaluations for a professor's tenure, promotion and salary rise decisions and making the results of evaluations available for students' decisions on course and instructor selection were less important from the students' standpoint. Students' motivation to participate in teaching evaluations is also impacted significantly by their expectation that they will be able to provide meaningful feedback. Since quality student input is an essential antecedent of meaningful student evaluations of teaching effectiveness, the results of this study should be considered thoughtfully as the evaluation system is designed, implemented and operated.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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