Wednesday, November 23, 2011

UTB/TSC to delay release of grades to students who don't evaluate courses
Jacqueline Armendariz
The Brownsville Herald

BROWNSVILLE — Students at the University of Texas-Brownsville/Texas Southmost College who fail to complete evaluations for this semester’s courses will wait an extra two weeks for their grades, officials said last week.

The move is meant to counter low response rates for the online evaluations.

The fall 2011 semester at UTB/TSC is coming to a close, but students have until Dec. 5 to complete a survey if they want their grades sooner than later. Blanca Bauer, executive director for research planning and effectiveness, said the lack of course data has a cascade effect beyond evaluating faculty for tenure or promotions.

“It’s a lot bigger than that,” she said. “It’s about continual improvement in our instruction. Without their feedback we can’t do it. We don’t know what’s good and what’s not.”


  1. "Without their feedback we can’t do it. We don’t know what’s good and what’s not."

    until the freshmen tell us? Don't we know better than they do?

  2. Bureaucracy run amok....I never took those things seriously as a student, especially the written sections. All professors, unless they really stunk, were graded "above average"....if they got on my nerves, I wrote a lot of gibberish about timewarps, the Fernblatt factor, keeping Hitler's head alive in a jar, or I would sketch out simple circuit diagrams.

  3. I may be wrong about this, but I was under the impression that the reason we have course evaluations in the first place is that an earlier generation of students demanded them. If the current generation of students has to be bribed or coerced into filling them out because the bureaucracy demands them, it seems to me that they have become entirely divorced from their purpose.

  4. I agree with FP (do you also post at SD? Hi! (capybara)), although this maneuver amuses the hell out of me-- it's gorgeously passive aggressive. The level of student complacency seems to have risen from just "this class sucks because I'm getting a C-" to "fuck this noise, I've got a copy of Gears of War 3 I could be playing in this five minutes".

  5. Hi, capybara / Dr. Lemurpants! (And yes, I do -- not too many porpentines running around the Internet, I guess.)

  6. Taking a break from grading essays from a stack that seems to grow after each one I clearly spend more time on than the students did writing them, I wonder if this inducement might work here. Considering the grades most of the students are making these days, why would they want their grades early?

  7. Online evaluations are a spectacularly bad idea, precisely BECAUSE they have such a low response rate, and this just makes it worse. Administrators supposedly want to increase student input but this is not the way to do it. It makes students resentful and they'll take it out on the teacher.

    The only way to do it is in-class, where the students are given a "break" from regular work to do them. Since they have to stay there anyway, mostly they do them. And they're not resentful because it's time "off" from working in class.

    But they will get resentful if you deprive them of their grades. And they'll either plug in some bullshit that takes two seconds or lash out.

    Like most "advancements" in assessment this is a dumbfuck move designed to reduce administrator work and produce a bunch of useless numbers that make them seem like they're actually doing something productive.

    They're not.

  8. Gee, Stella, don't hold back ... Tell us how you really feel! :)

    (I agree wholeheartedly, BTW)

  9. Part of this is the demand for "accountability" that so many of the conservatives have been pushing. In many states, requirements are either in place or soon will be which mandate student evaluation results to be available to the public in an easily accessible online format so that Johnny can shop for the easiest, er, highest rated and thus best professor who teaches Advanced Underwater Hamster Fur Coat Design. It's always interesting to me that they don't want to see our evaluations from peers, chairpersons, or deans, you know, the people who actually do this for a living and actually have credentials to evaluate our abilities. No, it's those student evaluations that count and really show our skills!

  10. Go Stella!

    English - You're right. Lefties are supposedly the ones who create state control and bureaucracy - unless it's about something conservatives want!

  11. The passage Sultans highlighted stood out for me, too. It does not speak well of Ms. Bauer (or is it Dr. Bauer? I hope not, but I fear it probably is), or her institution, if their evaluation of teaching is that dependent on any single factor, let alone the judgment of people with a very limited perspective on the matter.

    I also note that the whole article reveals that these evaluations are created and marked by an outside vendor (actually, more than one, since they're in the process of switching). If somebody is making money off the process, heaven help us; no matter how much both students and faculty hate it, it will never go away.

  12. At my institution the students are required to complete evals in order to receive their grades. In fact, they pop up in the computer testing center the second they compete their exam. Now I am sure that this allows for unbiased opinions. Certainly they aren't upset about the exam they just took. /sarcasm


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.