I analysed the relation between the feedback scores of my courses given by students against the average grades of the students in these courses. I found a moderate correlation (Pearson r) of 0.595. i.e. if the grades are better the students tend to give better evaluations of my teaching.
While I kind of expected something along these lines I then correlated the pass rate (= students with a positive final mark divided by the number of students) of the courses and mean student feedback and found a striking correlation of 0.898 (note that for Pearson r 0.0 would be no relation and 1.0 would be a perfect relation).
At the time I grade the exam I do not know the students’ feedback and at the time the students give the feedback they have not written their final exam yet but they have the results of the midterm exam and several marked assignments/papers (the combination of both usually being a pretty good predictor of the final exam and grade).
My analysis is based on a relatively low number of 10 courses (amounting to about 610 hours of class room presence).
Therefore my questions are:
- Is there a known relation between pass rate and student feedback? E.g. a publication that analysis this on a larger scale? Or are my results just an odd outlier?
- If this holds true would it not question the meaningfulness of feedback scores as making a course easier gives better feedback (tenure decisions etc)?