5

It's end of term. If you're teaching faculty, it means you've gotten your student evals. We can't be the only ones trying to decide whether, how or how much to share our student evals, e.g., by posting them to the entire class.

Arguments in favor relate to openness and accountability, that it's helpful for students to know that we take their feedback seriously, that we listen to what they say and take it as important. We’re accountable, just as they are. It also gives them a check on their feelings: How did their experience compare with others and how much responsibility lies where?

Arguments opposed relate to confidentiality and privacy, that the surveys were intended to be anonymous and that some of the written comments might be more identifiable than intended if the student knew the comment would be shared, so that at most, only the aggregated numeric data should be shared. Also, if one instructor shares, that may create unwelcome pressure on their colleagues to share feedback they regard as private.

How are other faculties weighing these issues? Are you having this discussion? Is there anything close to a consensus or a best practice emerging? Has your institution given you guidance?

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    I think paragraphs 2-3 may use some editing for clarity. Also, is the discussion about sharing statistics ("aggregated data") or comments? How would this sharing be done? (At my institution, the system publishes all the stats, but not the comments.) – Omar Dec 23 '17 at 16:58
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    My university explicitly asked us to discuss with new students previous year's comments. So next year I'll address the major issues in the first lecture. – Massimo Ortolano Dec 23 '17 at 16:59
2

Where I worked in Germany, faculty were required to share the statistical results of the survey with their classes, and allow for time for feedback. So I see no issues in sharing results when no student-specific data would be given away. (Note that the surveys thus effectively represented "midterm" evaluations.)

As far as comments, that's a bit trickier. I'd err on the side of leaving out anything that talks about the student instead of about the class.

I think that X

would be fine, but

Because I transferred and hadn't studied Y at my old university, this class was very hard

would not, since it might give away some information as to who said it. You could present a redacted version:

Because I . . . hadn't studied Y[,] this class was very hard

if you want to remove anything identifying individuals.

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    "Because I hadn't studied Y before, this class was too hard" would not, since it might give away some information as to who said it. Yup, being held accountable for the things you say/write is a b%tch. Also, I would think that not having studied something before having an impact on student performance would actually be useful for current/future students to know about. – Mad Jack Dec 23 '17 at 21:20
  • Because I hadn't studied Y before... only gives information away if a the number of students hadn’t studied Y before is very small. (I’m used to teaching classes with 100–400 students, so this kind of narrative comment is generally both safe to reveal and incredibly useful to the students.) – JeffE Dec 23 '17 at 22:53

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