I'm not sure how to phrase the question exactly in the title, but the issue is essentially this. I gave some feedback for a subject I did, which I was told was confidential. The lecturer found out I gave the feedback and approached me about it. From what she said, they were able to piece together who I was from the examples I gave of my concerns.

I realised from their statements that the feedback was given directly to them, but with no names attached (I assume). I don't feel that this was adequately stated in the survey. Now while I no doubt they will be a professional moving forward in this situation, I cannot know for certain that they now hold a vendetta against me. Conversely, they could also inflate my marks to appease me as well. Either circumstance I think we can agree is not favourable.

I have already emailed the university about this some time ago, but never received a reply. The thing I am most concerned about is the lack of clarity about the feedback, I would not have included "incriminating" evidence had I known this was given to the lecturer's directly - though I am unsure if that was an incorrect assumption on my part.

Anyways, my question is: should I chase this up or should I let it go?

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    Have you contacted the department chair? Regardless of what you had to say about her teaching, her approaching you about your remarks is not good, and yes, I'd go to somebody. – Jonathan Landrum May 25 '14 at 3:39
  • Thanks for the suggestion. I haven't done anything than the initial email to the department, so I might take it to that next step then. – swag May 26 '14 at 9:05
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    How was the reaction of the lecturer? Did she wanted to know more about your feedback, in a constructive way, or was she just upset about it? – user102 May 26 '14 at 18:12
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    At my school, professors don't see their evaluations until the following semester. That way in a situation like yours, they couldn't do any retribution in the students' grades for that semester. – user1482 May 27 '14 at 3:23

At most institutions in the United States, instructors are given their course evaluations in toto, only stripped of names. It's up to students to not write anything which would lead to deductive disclosure. But there's plausible deniability, so you could have feigned ignorance when she approached you (which was an entirely unprofessional thing to do).

If you are worried about retribution then speak to your chair or at the very least send an email note so that you have a paper record of your concerns.

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    instructors are given their course evaluations in toto, only stripped of names — At every institution I've attended, course evaluations are anonymous from the get-go. There's no place for the student to write their name, so there are no names to strip. – JeffE May 27 '14 at 5:10
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    At my school, students have to be enrolled in the class and logged in to access the anonymous eval system, so technically it's not anonymous as the system admin could figure out from login records who did which. So confidential is a more accurate descriptor than anonymous. – RoboKaren May 27 '14 at 5:12
  • I felt this aspect wasn't made clear. I had this lecturer across a couple of semesters which I referenced in my feedback basically along the lines of "the issues I previously mentioned are still current". Since I mentioned that, it was reasonably easy to deduce me I guess. In this case she seems to want to appease me, so I am not at a disadvantage, but still, I feel like it should've been made explicitly clear that they have everything you wrote, minus your name. – swag May 27 '14 at 7:03
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    "It's up the the students to not write anything which would lead to deductive disclosure": +1. I would be disappointed if my feedback was being "sanitized" before being passed on to the lecturer -- what I write is what I want him or her to read. – Moriarty May 27 '14 at 14:50

If it appears that the lecturer is not being impartial when it comes to assessing your work, you should follow that up. As for "following up" how the feedback was obtained and provided to the lecturer, there really is nothing to follow up. In many cases the policies are set by the university. You could attempt to rally a student movement to institute a different policy, but you would really have to demonstrate that the new policy provides better learning outcomes or really upsets your fellow students. It is not uncommon for universities to solicit open comment feedback from students and then distribute those comments unfiltered to the lecturers. Many universities only provide the feedback after the exams, put it is equally common to provide the feedback to the lecturer immediately.

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