Faculty Development Lecture and Workshop: On course evaluation

Today at Yokkaichi Nursing and Medical Care University the faculty and administration attended a presentation by Professor Masahiro Chikada of Nagoya University’s Center for the Studies of Higher Education. The presentation contained new and useful information as well as helping me to reevaluate my own course evaluations and syllabus.

In this post, I will present some of the ideas that were new to me. First Prof. Chikada used an interesting diagram to show the flow of information in any school between teachers and students

Teacher——————————>
   curriculum, syllabus, teach, grade
             <———————————————————Student
                entrance, register, attend, take tests, course evaluation

Chikada also presented some results of research on course evaluations done by Takahashi Yasuoka

  • the fewer students in class, the higher the evaluations, from 30 up evaluations decreased until reaching 100 people, where they leveled off
  • almost no relationship between grades and course evaluations
  • science and technical fields showed lower evaluations than other disciplines
  • no relationship between teacher’s research record and course evaluations
  • evaluation results decrease as age rises (speaking habits sited as cause)
  • results show relationship to days and times, Mondays and third periods being lowest
  • teachers don’t like big classes, but students indifferent
  • as evaluation questions increase in number, reliability drops
  • quick feedback on results is important to students

Chikada’s conclusion was that
1. Syllabus should reflect the purpose of the class as well as details on what kind necessary for passing and excellence.
2. Schools should determine their own definition of what is a “good class.”
3. Schools should put their results to work, praising teachers with high marks and providing support for teachers with low marks, as well as reviewing and revising curriculum and faculty responsibilities.
4. Insure that students and see and feel the results of course evaluations.

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