Biased student evaluations could affect instructor fate

Madison Rexroat

Student evaluations – you know, the email survey you ignore every semester unless you’re promised extra credit – are used by colleges to determine instructor effectiveness and contribute to their tenure tracks.

However, despite anti-discrimination laws that prohibit firing faculty on the basis of race and gender, anonymous, online student evaluations can often display bias that can affect instructor reviews.

Laws are unclear as to how colleges should handle obvious – or even less obvious – student bias when evaluating instructors. Some colleges verify or debunk evaluations by observing an instructor while they are teaching, but a large portion of potentially damaging bias often goes unnoticed and unexplained.

Read the full story by The Chronicle of Higher Education here