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EDITORIAL: Should students be able to evaluate teachers?

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Student evaluations of their teachers create an official way for students to voice their opinion and help improve the classroom.

In universities across the country it is common practice for students to evaluate their teachers after each semester. High school students do not hold this luxury. If students are in a class with a teacher they struggle with or would like to support, evaluations create an official way for students to voice their opinion.

Evaluations allow students to point out weaknesses tests alone cannot capture. Assessments based off of classroom environment, one-on-one help and how well the teacher encourages classroom discussion is more accurate than just a test can offer.

Instead of being solely evaluated by administration, students might add to the process in an effort to enhance the classroom experience. The grading of a teacher shows them how they can improve the classroom and their curriculum.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation dedicated $45M the Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) Project with the goal to accurately evaluate teachers. They studied over 3,000 teachers in various metropolitan areas in order to find the best way to evaluate educators. A major part of the study was student evaluation of teachers. The study concluded that students offer a cheaper and more accurate source of data rather than peer evaluations.

However, students may abuse their ability to appraise their teachers. They may not enjoy the subject matter, find the teacher’s expectations exceedingly difficult or simply dislike their educator. In a system where students are evaluators, safeguards would become necessary to prevent bias.

Some teachers choose to do self evaluations at the end of the year by asking students to fill out a questionnaire or anonymous evaluations. This can help teachers understand a student perspective of the school year.

Evaluations would not replace current assessment methods, but become additions to them. Ultimately, students grading their teachers would help assist in improving the classroom environment.

For more editorials, check out EDITORIAL: Should ministers be millionaires? and EDITORIAL: Your vote matters.

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