The Orion

Students should grade teachers

Photo+credit%3A+David+Molina
Photo credit: David Molina

Photo credit: David Molina

Photo credit: David Molina

Jeff Guzman and David Molina

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When it comes to school, the force that drives most people to do well and give a strong effort is the final letter grade. Making sure that you are learning something from a class is more important, but the reason grades exist is to help show how much a student has learned from a course. Something that isn’t considered a lot is the idea of grading teachers on how well they taught the course.

Teaching is an interesting profession and arguably the most important job in our society. Forming the minds of the future is something serious. So any method that can improve the art of teaching is worth considering.

People look at a student’s performance in the classroom but it’s only ever focused with how well a student has learned a subject. What needs to have more importance is how well a teacher has taught a subject.

The California Teacher Association is the organization that sets up the standard for teacher evaluation. The problem is that colleagues and others who are following a systematic framework for determining if a teacher is doing an effective job do all this evaluation. Shouldn’t we care more about what a student has to say about a teacher doing their job right?

At the moment, the closest thing we have to a teacher grading system from students is the student evaluation of teaching forms handed out at the end of each semester. This is an effective tool, though not mandatory and most students don’t take them seriously. However, what I have noticed is that some of my best professors are the ones that are constantly reminding the class about the evaluations. Either they are encouraging students to take them or forcing them to during lecture time. The classes where I learn the most, while also enjoying the material are the classes where my professors take the evaluations seriously.

And it only makes sense. Typically teachers are only evaluated by the people higher up than them. But who better to tell the professor how well they taught than the people themselves who are taking classes taught by them?

Another tool used for judging teachers is the outside source RateMyProfessor, which is something students can use to look up their professors and give them a rating on how well the teaching was. What’s great about RateMyProfessor is that you can rate both a teacher’s quality, as well as their difficulty level while also leaving a comment about anything else worth noting.

The only issue is that RateMyProfessor is an independent source and is only meant for other students to use when picking classes for the next semester. There needs to be something integrated with the Department of Education and that has more influence on the classroom experience.

Making students grade teachers would be beneficial for several reasons. Students can gain a sense of responsibility while also feeling like they have an impact on how future students are taught. I like to picture a future where students are given the responsible task of judging their professors and they gain a sense that their opinion matters. The most obvious reason though is that the best person to say how well the teacher taught is the person who was taught.

Jeff Guzman can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Students should grade teachers”

  1. THT on September 21st, 2016 12:04 pm

    Hi Jeff, I’m wondering if you did any research on the evidence supporting student evaluations? Because, as it turns out, the latest research seems to suggest that student evaluations don’t accurately reflect how much students learn in a course. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/21/new-study-could-be-another-nail-coffin-validity-student-evaluations-teaching

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Students should grade teachers