Taking a look at the problems with SPOTs
End-of-the-semester course evaluations are supposed to reflect a teacher’s abilities, but often just report students’ personal biases
February 1, 2018
Teaching evaluations should give solid feedback from students to department heads on whether an instructor is worth continued employment — but that’s not always what happens.
From low response rates to gender, ethnicity, and age biases, teaching evaluations, like FAU’s Student Perception of Teaching survey, have a long way to go until they’re a concrete measurement of a teacher’s abilities.
Flawed from the start
On average, just 58 percent of FAU’s 30,000 students take the Student Perception of Teaching evaluations, said James Capp, assistant provost for Academic Operations and Planning. This is down from the 66 percent response rate previously seen with the original paper format. (See SPOTs FAQs for a brief history on the teaching evaluation.)