oa The Journal of Independent Teaching and Learning - Who decides what counts as effective teaching?
Student evaluation of teaching is the most widely used mechanism internationally for assessing quality of teaching. The results of student evaluations contribute to performance evaluations and thus academic career prospects as part of a managerial 360° performance appraisal. Moreover, in the context of the global Quality Assurance drive in Higher Education, the practice is carrying increasing weight. Yet the apparent simplicity of asking students to evaluate educators belies the raft of complications around the practice. This literature review questions the fairness of Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET), when educators have no say in the items used to rate their teaching performance. It further challenges the value of students' opinions of an educator's performance, when students have had no opportunity to identifythe features of teaching practice that they hold as making valuable contributions to their learning. The argument suggests that the only legally fair and valid form of SET must be derived through the intersection of teacher-selected performances with those identified by students as valuable.
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