Research Seminar on Student Evaluation of Teaching

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) or Student feedback for teachers as it is popularly known, was the topic of a research seminar conducted by Prof. Saji K Mathew and held on 4th Aug 2010.His research included analyzing the SET and its background, the different techniques used by the universities of higher education worldwide, and he compared it with the method used by TAPMI and also suggested improvements.

One of the most prominent debates over SET is “what should be the appropriate focus of assessment for the institutes of higher education?”  There are two schools of thought on this: one is that it should be at the Program level and this is called the Course (Program) Perception Questionnaire (CPQ). This method is used in universities in the UK and Australia. In these countries, course is referred to as the post graduate program. In this technique the feedback is taken on the overall program aimed at inter-institutional comparison and not for evaluating a single subject or teacher.

Another technique used is at the Course Level and is known as the Student’s evaluation of Educational Quality (SEEQ) and this is followed by universities in the U.S.A and other countries.  The main purpose of this method is to evaluate the faculty and the course. Prof. Saji Mathew also mentioned that the SEEQ measures nine dimensions of learning value, enthusiasm, organization, group interaction, rapport, breadth, examination, assignment and workload.

Prof .Saji K Mathew studied the SEEQ, which has been tested on the reliability aspect and it has been found that there is a positive correlation between the ratings of different courses by the same teacher. On the other hand there is little or no correlation between the ratings of the same course taught by different teachers.

Prof Mathew in his study also analyzed the instrument used in TAPMI on the basis of nine aspects and also on factor structure, reliability and validity of this instrument. TAPMI follows course level techniques which have some good characteristics like excellent reliability and objective assessment of faculty’s work output. But the faculty also pointed out that it does not cover all the nine aspects that SEEQ envisages and it contains couple of dichotomous questions.

He also challenged the current Likert scale of 1-10 which is used to rate the questions as it can create ambiguity for the students. They can either fill it with natural numbers or real numbers. The professor came up with a new questionnaire and asked the audience to give their opinion on the same. His questions were based on the nine aspects of SSQ and also on a 5 point scale where each number is associated with a degree of likeness. After the review, he proposed to present it to head of academics as a suggestion for change that can be incorporated in the future.

– Research Committee

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