The impact of student characteristics and course characteristics on students' evaluations of instructors
Waring, Patrick James Smith
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It was the purpose of this study to determine the impacts student and course characteristics may have had on students' evaluations of instructors. Characteristics measured were: course difficulty, course workload, course pace, hours/week required outside of class, prior level of interest, G.P.A., expected grade, reason for taking the course, and overall benefit to the student. The population consisted of 2, 969 total evaluation forms collected during the 1990-1991 academic year in a normal faculty assessment. The study found significant impact on cumulative scores as well as on an overall rating of both the course and instructor by both student and course characteristics. The most significant difference was found in the direct impact of the students' rating of overall benefit of taking the course and the students' evaluations. There was a significant difference between the means with an £ ratio of 709.7771 for the cumulative means, an £ ratio of 969.6035 for the overall course ratings, and an £ ratio of 614.1955 for the means of overall instructor ratings. These were significant at the .05 level. The data clearly showed that students view instructors and courses in light of immediate benefits as valued by the student. Therefore, students' evaluations serve as an indicator of these perceived benefits as much as if not more than any indices of effective instruction.