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Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTL’s)

Group for directors of CUNY Centers for Teaching and Learning, and others interested in pedagogy and faculty development.



How to Read a Student Evaluation

  • Dear CTL Directors–

    I just read an excellent article entitled, “How to Read a Student Evaluation” in last week’s Chronicle (November 4th, 2011, pg A40). (see attached PDF). The author, David D. Perlmutter, provides some excellent ideas on how professors may change an “object of scorn and dread” into one that may actually improve teaching . For next semester I’m contemplating a faculty workshop on this topic with our Director of Institutional Research. Would anyone have any materials or ideas for such a workshop?
    All the best…Bruce

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  • Hi Bruce:

    ProfHacker routinely covers teaching evals, and their posts generally provide very good advice. (Here’s a recent one, which happens to link to archival coverage of the topic: .)

    I think the single most useful thing to do (so I would recommend it for the focus of your workshop) is to conduct mid-semester evaluations, and use those for improving how things are going.

    A separate topic is whether these evaluations are treated by chairs and deans as summative or formative.


    Thanks Eva–The article I posted was from Professor Hacker. Mid-semester evaluations are a good idea and has been standard practice for the CUNY Online BA program. I’m not sure how many other schools or programs mandate them. How chairs and deans view these evaluations is also a topic worth exploring….Bruce

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