#KeyLIMEPodcast 85: What does a student evaluation say about your teaching?

The Key Literature in Medical Education podcast tackles a subject guaranteed to engage every CE – student assessments of teachers.  If you get a good assessment, it’s obviously right on track.  If you get a poor one, there are a multitude of biases that threaten the validity of the assessment, right?

There are a lot of issues with student assessment of teachers- what is the organizing framework?  What is the correlation with learning? Why the strong influence on academic promotion? What is the influence of teacher demographics (e.g. charisma)?

All these issues and more are discussed on the podcast.  Check out the abstract below and for even more details listen to the podcast.  Subscribe here.


KeyLIME Session 85 – Article under review:

Fri post_Ken Harris

Listen to the podcast

View/download the abstract here.

Spooren P, Brockx B, Mortelmans D. On the Validity of Student Evaluation of Teaching: The State of the Art. Review of Educational Research. 2013 Dec; 83(4): 598-642.

Reviewer: Jason Frank

Student evaluation of teaching (aka “SET”) is nearly universal. It is hard to think of an educational institution in the world that does not use (or at least say they use) student ratings for formative and summative judgments about teacher performance. However there is a great deal of controversy about the validity and reliability of the whole enterprise. For example, if teaching instruments are so good, why are they so different at every institution? Why does it seem like scores vary so much? Why aren’t my scores higher??

The authors, from Belgium, set out to reexamine the whole SET topic by conducting a systematic review of papers that address the validity of teacher assessment in higher education since 2000.

Type of paper
Systematic Review

Key Points on the Methods
The authors searched educational databases for key terms relating to SET & higher ed since 2000. They added papers from bibliographies, and then sprinkled in a few other “classic” papers for random reasons. Emphasis was placed on papers from around the world (i.e. not focused on the US). Not all PRISMA criteria were met.

Key Conclusions
The authors conclude… that there is a large number of studies about SET, and most are positive in the sense that student ratings correlate with other measures of teaching.

(Unfortunately, since no one agrees what effective teaching is and measures of student learning don’t correlated, no one knows what this means.)

Spare Keys – other take home points for clinician educators

  • Review of Educational Research is an excellent resource to inform your view of the educational literature. Bring coffee: the papers often exceed 50 pages each.
  • Teacher assessment is a controversial topic that is ripe for an SR of the meded literature, and other studies.
  • This paper uses an older paradigm of the types of validity (remember Jon’s recurring rant about validity!).

Access KeyLIME podcast archives here