and reasonably accurate means of assessing this aspect of teaching effectiveness.
Use standardized procedures for administering forms in class. When results may be used in personnel decisions, standardized procedures are necessary to minimize possible biasing effects. These procedures include having the instructor leave the room and providing consistent information to students about how the data will be used. Departments and institutions should also develop policies to ensure uniform procedures for distributing, collecting, and analyzing standardized forms. Normally, forms are completed anonymously in class. Some schools also require that students either return their evaluation forms to an administrative office individually or give them to a student in the class who is assigned to deliver them. An ideal approach is to use special staff, such as those from the teaching and learning center, to administer and collect rating forms. Another possibility is to use department secretarial staff. Use of student volunteers is least desirable.
Student evaluations are most commonly completed at the end of the course and prior to final exams or grades. They can also be distributed at midsemester to assist in instructional improvement. Another approach is to administer the final examination early and then require students to attend a session where they receive their graded examination and are asked to complete the evaluation form. This approach allows students to review the instructor’s comments on their final examination, making the examination a more important component of the overall learning experience in the course. Having this information and perspective allows students to offer a more complete evaluation of the course. It is important to note, however, that employing this technique may well result in an instructor’s receiving lower evaluations than instructors who distribute the evaluations before administering the final examination. This difference in approaches should be considered in any summative evaluation of a faculty member’s teaching.
Expect those being evaluated to respond to evaluation results. Faculty should have the opportunity to discuss with their department chair or others involved in personnel decisions any circumstances they believe may have affected student evaluations of their teaching. They also should be asked to describe in writing what they were trying to accomplish in the course and how their teaching methods suited those objectives (e.g., Hutchings, 1998). Their written comments should be placed in their official dossier or wherever the student ratings are kept. It also