Thursday, December 01, 2011

Evaluation Time

As students get ready for their final exams at college, teachers are also being evaluated and it is not a five minute visitation by a no nothing supervisor.  It is an evaluation by the students who actually sat with this teacher every day. 

The evaluation form begins asking the students about he course and covers questions about their interest before and after, difficulty, objectives, workload, homework, things the student must deal with on a daily basis.  The student is even asked to rate their level of effort which includes attendance, note-taking, reading, homework, studying and participation.  Since the survey is anonymous, it is hopeful that the kids will answer honestly and this will give insight to who is doing the evaluation, unlike the anonymous RMT.

The next section asks about the instructor and includes topics such as preparedness, knowledge, ability to explain, availability for help, encouragement, organization and then ends with rating how effective the instructor is.

The evaluation then asks the student to mark their year in school, requirements class fulfills, current grade and the number of hours spent studying for the course.  Lastly there are four more questions the students must write out answers to, including if they would recommend this instructor or take another course with him/her. The instructor can even add a personal question.

The teacher is not in the room while the evaluation forms are being filled out and does not even see the results until the students in the class are a distant memory.  I know the schools use these forms.  When I interviewed for my current position I was asked to bring evaluations from the other college I taught at.  I know these reviews were carefully read every term and if enough comments warranted, I would not have been rehired.

It is always good for me to hear what my students think and want.  I've read, listened and adjusted based on their comments which were often right on the money. 

Millions of dollars are being spent on evaluation methods but that money is being wasted when the best evaluators are sitting in front of us.  They are cheap (free), available and want to help.  These are the voices that can help make a difference in education.  It is time to start listening them an.d using what they say.

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