Student Evaluations of Teaching: Is There a Relationship between Student Feedback on Teaching and the Student Final Grade?

Darren Pullen, Steven Collette, Loan Dao, J - F


The use of Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET) has become widespread practice in higher education despite inconclusive evidence reported in the literature around its validity. Not surprisingly, the question of the validity of SET continues to be a current debate in higher education, pointing to more research to be conducted in this area. The current study contributes to broadening knowledge and understanding on the validity of SET by drawing on an online unit evaluation completed by students (n=2430 out of total student enrolment of N=7757) in one university across three postgraduate education programs over a two-year period, to determine whether there is a relationship between student feedback on teaching and student final unit grade. Findings revealed that students who achieved very high or very low final unit grades did not participate in the SET, while students who achieved Pass or Credit grades partook in the SET, thus providing feedback. This indicates that teaching and evaluating staff need to be aware that a large subset of their students that are not providing feedback to staff to improve the quality of their courses.

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