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Charting New Approaches To Student Evaluation

Stephen Darwin
Published 2016 · Sociology

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This final chapter considers the future potential of student feedback in higher education. With the relentless rise of neo-liberalist, market-based models in higher education, there has emerged a powerful and seemingly irresistible demand from students, institutions and even socially for survey outcomes to assure the quality of university teaching. Quantitative student evaluation has become a fundamental—though inherently flawed—proxy means of determining teaching quality. However, the arguably more important foundational imperative of student evaluation—that is, to provide a valuable impetus for the professional (re)consideration and improvement of pedagogical practices—is increasingly forced into the background as these other more powerful motives escalate in significance. This has had the effect of rendering student evaluation as an increasingly unwelcome fringe dweller and essentially an intrusion in the professional domain of the higher education teacher. Therefore, it is critical that new tools and approaches to ensure the student voice remains a meaningful contributor to the professional and pedagogical dialogues around academic teaching are formalised. The chapter proposes a potential new approach to student evaluation that attempts to restore its seminal objective of pedagogical development through the elevated use of the student voice and collaborative professional dialogue.

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