Should students grade teachers?

I am specifically hoping to hear back from both teachers and students.

I have read some fascinating articles on this topic (which I will put in the comments below later – first, do your own research *grin*).

UPDATE: 30Oct2013 – a picture of the results so far: 4 responses, split evenly.

should_students_grade_teachers_30Oct2013_results

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8 Responses to “Should students grade teachers?”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Here are some of the links I stumbled upon:

    http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-students-grade-their-teachers
    http://neatoday.org/2011/07/25/should-students-grade-their-teachers/
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/10/why-kids-should-grade-teachers/309088/
    http://hechingerreport.org/content/should-students-grade-their-teachers_10861/
    http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/should-students-be-able-to-grade-their-teachers/?_r=0
    http://www.quickanded.com/2012/10/should-students-%E2%80%9Cgrade-teachers%E2%80%9D.html

    Basically, I am reading two different camps of thought, which in my mind are not incompatible, just tricky to mesh. 🙂 On the one hand, what do kids know about teaching? Diddly. Obviously at younger ages, students will “grade” mostly on subjective experiences; how they like the teacher, how they feel valued, what kind of day they are having, etc. At what point are they mature enough to make a slightly more objective evaluation? On the flip side, students are on the receiving end of the service being provided – who else knows better what that service is like? Are educational experts sitting in every single classroom constantly grading teacher performace and student learning? Nope.

    For the sake of discussion and my own learning, I wonder what a hybrid assessment would look like. I realize the district is rolling out a new evaluation tool for teachers right now. Obviously, I have no idea what that tool is like or what it entails. But without knowing about it, I wonder what it would like if students and parents had some kinda of input, even if only with a small weight. That seems to me like it would empower the “clients”. Ultimately, though, the big thing for me is just getting back to building and maintaining relationships. It bothers me that we (and I) use all this business language to describe public education, as if we are bartering for goods to be traded on the open market. I still maintain the community at large has a societal obligation to raise up all children such that they can participate, successfully. “There are no unworthy seekers of knowledge.”

  2. pattsi Says:

    I continue to not get it. Rolling out an evaluation tool. Same approach as is used to assess college professors–the two extremes reply. Where along the line did individual forget everything that was learned in evaluation design and statistic classes, on the assumption that those involved in developing evaluation tools took these classes. If this seems a bit biting, it is meant to be. The path of least resistance continues to be taken by so many entities in regard to what is termed evaluation. What has happened to using elite interviewing of a random sampling of children in each class or school or however the population is stratified? Indeed, this takes more time. But uses randomness and sets us an opportunity to explore more dimensions of a schedule of questions. Nothing that is not random has no chance of validity and reliability. This has the potential of a great research project.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    In recent years, many college students independently rate their professors on websites such as ratemyprofessor.com and ratemyteacher.com. I was looking at ratemyteacher.com and there are elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools across the nation where many students and/or parents are rating teachers. I believe that this trend will grow. Currently, you can find some local k-12 teachers rated by their students/parents. Even if the school districts never formally implement student evaluation of teachers, the students and parents can have voice through sites such as ratemyteacher.com. At the collegiate level, most students know and use these sites as they are registering for classes and leave comments for their fellow students upon completion of a course. Students have found a more authentic way to have voice than the end of semester university developed evaluation and to have their voice available for others to view.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    Good points, Jennifer.

    When I teach at Parkland, I informally poll the students on a semi-regular basis about what they think of the class. Over midterms, I asked students to grade me (and made it VERY clear that no matter what they said, their opinions would not affect their grades). One student was quite taken aback, having never been asked before.

    As we all know, at the elementary level, parents cannot officially chose their teacher. I am not a big fan of introducing free market practices in the schools, but I can see why they have appeal; let the parents choose everything. But as we also know, those very same principles only reward a portion of the population, not everyone, and not equally.

    So for right now, I think your point of using vehicles like ratemyteacher.com is a good way of at least expressing one’s opinion and sharing it with each other, which can be cathartic and maybe even helpful for other parents. Until parents, the Union, the district administration and BOE have a more trusting relationship, we are going to find it hard to be vulnerable and honest in such a way as to be constructive.

    Jennifer, on that note, you mentioned a Wayne Hoy article (in Developing Trust?) that now I want to go look up. 🙂

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

  6. pattsi Says:

    Charles, what is the point of this thread? You mention a chance for parents to choose the teachers for their children, such as a free market. Free market does not exist at all. There are always rules.
    And you mention that you allow your students to evaluate you. But you do not mention what you do with it or provide for discuss what questions or survey is used.
    And the model provided is disappointing in that there are no two-way arrows. Everything moves in one direction. Nothing is iterative. If not iterative, how can there be learning and change?

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Quick response here. I did not think to report out what I do with the feedback since my students are quite aware of how I make changes based on their feedback. Over the years, students have told me they want more hands-on exercises during class, and that is what we have. Students tell me they want more exercises for optional homework, and I make that available as well. I have not yet had a student (or anyone for that matter) give me a hard-core evaluation of me as a teacher – still waiting for that. I think people are too afraid and walk on egg shells.

      Your other points are extremely vague and fatalistic. “Nothing is iterative”, “Everything moves in one direction.” *grin* Perhaps did you have a frustrating day? 🙂

  7. charlesdschultz Says:

    UPDATE: 30Oct2013 – a picture of the results so far: 4 responses, split evenly.


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