Can students evaluations
be trusted?

Karl Kilbo Edlund, March 7, 2022.

Social Sciences – Education Studies

Abstract: Although nearly ubiquitous in the modern higher education sector, student evaluations of teaching, or course evaluations, have been frequently criticised in scientific literature. From a student’s vantage point, these feedback systems represent one of the most commendable ideals of modern pedagogy: the involvement of student voices in course design and development. Therefore, while they are most often (and rightly so) at the periphery of a student’s mind, student evaluations become a cornerstone of students’ influence over their education. Thus, any doubts of their efficacy, accuracy, or justness should be of great concern. On the one hand, if these doubts were true, course evaluations would represent a major flaw in quality assurance and improvement systems, as well as a false promise of student influence. On the other hand, if these doubts were unfounded, they would nonetheless undermine the value of student input to potential improvements in education.

Keywords. — Student evaluation, course evaluation, quality assurance, higher education.

Disclaimer: The views, information and opinions in the written publications are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those shared by the Eutopia Student Think Tank (EUSTT) nor the EUTOPIA Alliance.



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Karl Kilbo Edlund

PhD student in environmental epidemiology at the University of Gothenburg. He has previously been president of the University of Gothenburg Student Unions and vice president of the EUTOPIA Student Council.