Should students grade their teachers? The idea sounds simple and it is. When I asked my friends this question, the overall consensus I received showed me how beneficial this concept could be. The issue of teaching quality has had increased awareness in the past years as efforts have been made to better assess teachers. Although teachers are observed and Student Growth Objective (SGO) tests are administered, it is not enough.
Observers who come into a class for one period are unable to give an accurate judgement of a teacher’s teaching ability compared to a kid who has spent months with the teacher. The people that spend hours watching and listening to teachers are oftentimes never asked for their opinion. Students are the most well-equipped to grade teachers, seeing as they spend so much time with them everyday. Using test scores to grade teachers is not an effective way to truly measure how well kids are learning. Different student backgrounds, such as socioeconomic factors, race, and political ideology, can influence someone’s scores. Some could say that a student’s opinion would be biased and unreliable, but if asked the right questions, results that accurately grade a teacher will show.
Surveying students is a simple method to get an evaluation of teaching skills unaffected by emotion. Specific and detailed questionnaires will give data that test scores and observations can not. Implementing surveys reveal information traditional tests do not. When teachers receive honest feedback about how they can improve, it benefits both the teacher and the student, which will give kids a better learning experience in the classroom.
People who are opposed to a survey may argue that some students might not like a teacher for no reason or fool around and not take it seriously. Although this may occur in very few cases, almost all my peers have complained about their teachers, and in those complaints, there is constructive criticism and some truth on how our teachers can get better. Surveys can also show how the class learns rather than the amount. Instead of asking, “Is your teacher nice?”, ask questions such as, “Do you learn a lot everyday in class?” or “Do your classmates participate in class?” These types of questions are far more detailed and, in turn, produce more detailed answers.
The financial implications are also in support of using surveys. According to an article from The Atlantic, it would cost $5 per student to administer a survey, but a standardized test with the analysis of the of results costs $35 per student, and hiring someone to observe a class costs about $97 per student.
The advantages of surveys has given reason for an increasing amount of school districts to use surveys which has more value and students finally have an outlet to express their opinions. Hopefully in the future, my fellow classmates and I will also have the opportunity to do the same.
Graphic: Evie Cullen