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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Student ratings of teaching effectiveness in university personnel decisions Brigden, Susan Rae


Student ratings of teaching effectiveness are often considered by university personnel decision-makers when a candidate's teaching effectiveness is being evaluated. In turn, teaching effectiveness is often one of several factors considered by these decision-makers when evaluating overall faculty performance for the purpose of making personnel decisions with respect to reappointment, promotion, and tenure. Although student ratings has proven to be a popular field of research, a review of the literature indicated that little empirical research has been conducted into student ratings and their place in university personnel decisions. The purpose of the study was to explore the role of student ratings in university personnel decisions. Two versions of a questionnaire were developed and distributed to 135 members of the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. One version was sent to 76 Faculty members classified, Decision-makers/Administrators (DMAs); a second version was sent to 59 other Faculty members classified as Instructors. Forty-seven DMAs and 52 Instructors responded for an overall response rate of 73%. The results indicate that research is of primary importance in a candidate's overall performance evaluation and that the relative importance of classroom teaching in overall performance evaluation appears to depend upon the type of appointment a candidate is being considered for. For appointments with tenure, the importance of classroom teaching appears to decrease as the rank of the appointment increases. The most important source of information considered in teaching effectiveness evaluation appears to be formal peer reviews, followed by student ratings and, then, the opinions of outside experts; the relative importance of each of these information sources does not appear to vary according to the type of appointment a candidate is being considered for. Limitations of the study are discussed and questions designed to guide future research are presented.

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