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Using student evaluations to improve individual and departmental teaching qualities

Hedges, M.; Webber, Don J.


M. Hedges


Student evaluations can be seen as an opportunity for students to vent their views on the quality of teaching that they receive, and sometimes instructors trivialise the importance of this opportunity for dialogue with students and colleagues and reflection on teaching practice. This paper takes student evaluations of teaching quality seriously and proposes a new theoretical framework that enables greater utilisation of such information. We illustrate how information from evaluations can be used to identify areas where the whole department has strengths and weaknesses and where individual instructors perform relative to their own department. This information can be used to identify individuals with specific areas of expertise and shape best practice within departments, across departments and/or across institutions. It can also be used to highlight individuals who may require further professional development and reveal areas of mediocrity that are at risk of intervention from a higher level. Finally, it suggests ways to implement shared best practice in order to improve department teaching quality assessment results and individual teaching performance.


Hedges, M., & Webber, D. J. (2014). Using student evaluations to improve individual and departmental teaching qualities. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 19(3), 323-339

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Print ISSN 1359-6748
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 3
Pages 323-339
Keywords student evaluations, buddy schemes, centres of teaching excellence
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Published online: 07 Jul 2014