Modifying Student Evaluations of Teaching to Improve Practice: A Report on a Project Carried Out in a Regional Institute of Technology

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Traditionally student evaluations of teaching (SET) at the institute were used for grading of staff, annual salary increments and promotion. The aim was for each academic staff member to achieve an 80% satisfaction rate. The questions also reflected a transmission approach to learning. A committee was formed to look at changing the process as part of the institute’s desire to develop a culture of innovation and creativity in teaching and learning practices. The committee members included a mixture of management, administration and academic staff. It was difficult to reach a consensus as tensions arose during the process between these groups regarding the purpose of SET, which had to be worked through. The aim was to produce a SET form that reflected the partnership between teachers and learners and a more constructivist approach to teaching and learning. The process was meant to be used as a tool to improve practice and was to be flexible to include the concerns that each staff member wished to focus on. The trial of the modified SET form had a number of teething problems and did not meet with the unanimous approval of all academic staff.


Keywords: Student Evaluation of Teaching, Tertiary Education
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Modifying Student Evaluations of Teaching to Improve Practice


Owen Wade Giles

Senior Lecturer Information Systems, Faculty of Business and Computing, Eastern Institute of Technology
Napier, New Zealand

I am an experienced educator with 20 years as a secondary school teacher and 12 years at the tertiary level, teaching information systems, mathematics and statistics. I have a strong belief in reflective teaching using constructive feedback to improve practice. I have masters degree in applied statistics and my thesis topic was using Excel to teach statistics. I am currently exploring topics for my doctoral study. I am chairperson of the committee involved in the project to modify the process of student evaluation of teaching.

Ref: L09P0768