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Cracks in the Ivory TowerThe Moral Mess of Higher Education$
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Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190846282

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190846282.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 August 2021

On Reading Entrails and Student Evaluations

On Reading Entrails and Student Evaluations

(p.82) 4 On Reading Entrails and Student Evaluations
Cracks in the Ivory Tower

Jason Brennan

Phillip Magness

Oxford University Press

In the United States, most universities and colleges ask students to complete course evaluations at the end of each semester. They ask students how much they’ve learned, how much they studied, whether the instructor seemed well-prepared, and how valuable the class was overall. This chapter examines how colleges routinely make faculty hiring, retention, and promotion decisions on the basis of what they ought to know are invalid tests. It argues that student course evaluations do not track teacher effectiveness. Using these as the bases of determining hires, promotions, tenure, or raises for faculty is roughly on par with reading entrails or tea leaves to make such decisions. The chapter also explains why universities continue to use student course evaluations.

Keywords:   universities, colleges, higher education, student course evaluation, teacher effectiveness

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