Take a deep breath, brace yourself, maybe even pour a glass of wine — your student evaluations of teaching have just appeared in your inbox. Instructors’ responses to the end-of-semester arrival of student evaluations vary widely. For some, the possibility of harsh critiques produces anxiety, while others relish confirmation of a job well done. Some dismiss student evaluations as simply reflecting particular students’ idiosyncratic preferences. Others welcome the feedback to help them improve their teaching. Despite the diverse perceptions, research indicates that student evaluations are, in fact, generally more reliable than other methods of assessing teaching effectiveness, such as peer evaluation or self-ratings. Student evaluations of teaching, administered in most Pitt schools through the Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET), can be effective sources for improved teaching. The question is how best to use them.
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