There are various approaches to get and process course ratings during end of semesters these days. The traditional way makes use of printed questionnaires and survey forms, while the more modern techniques are online. As always, there is a problem about many students not showing interest to participate in this important activity.
Who takes part in end-of-course evaluations may have implications on the results. Not all students fill out those forms for many reasons. Some of them use the ratings to get back at their professors, who may have given them unwanted grades on assignments or paper works. The satisfaction of students can facilitate bias and send ratings to upward or downward direction.
Interestingly, there have been many studies about the attitude of students towards course ratings. School administrators, professors, and students should know and understand the trend that may still be prevailing today.
New and major students
Most of the studies have found that freshmen or new college students are more likely to actively participate in professor/course evaluation activities. This suggests that new college students are more enthusiastic about university or college life. They may have high hopes about how their assessments of their professors can make a difference. However, as the trend shows, as students go on and get more used to college life, some of them think that evaluations are not seriously taken by the university.
Students who are evaluating courses that are major requirements in their courses also tend to fill out ratings forms. They think courses in their own major are more significant than all other courses. Thus, students try to participate in course ratings because they think doing so may make a difference.
Students who neglect course evaluations
According to some researches, students with lighter course loads and those with lower cumulative GPAs/course grades are less likely to participate in the activity. Men are generally less likely to evaluate courses than women in a reason that still puzzles researchers. Course load variable seems to be a measure of students’ attachment to a college or university. Logically, those taking fewer subjects become less committed and tend not to participate in such activities.
Students who are doing poorly in a course should not be expected to seriously take course evaluations or ratings. If they do, they tend to be punitive because they look at the evaluation as an opportunity to get even with their professors.
With all these information, anyone can infer that course evaluations may not truly reflect professors’ performance. The results can be biased in favor of the instructors. However, course ratings are still considered reliable because many universities now use different strategies and approaches to extract real and honest feedback from their students.
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