Starting Point                                                 Page 6


Stakeholder Feedback


As a longtime faculty member at University of Maryland’s journalism school, I can readily identify with the circumstances Lisa Oliveira describes at the outset of her article about student grading of instructor performance. Like her, I find little practical value several weeks after a course has ended in reading over mean scores given by my students on a five-point scale on a handful of survey questions that the university considers useful toward raising the quality of classes.

After a few years, I created my own two-page questionnaire, to supplement the (now-electronic) official evaluation the students complete. It asks more meaningful and in-depth questions about the course, the topics I covered, my ability to communicate that material, grading practices, instructor responsiveness and value added (especially about such things as field trips and guest speakers). The feedback, submitted anonymously by students, is specific and carries practical payoff. Most recently, students have identified a need to upgrade my computer software skills for editing photos and composing headlines.

While the use of students to evaluate teaching performance in K-12 classrooms has been less common to date, as Scott LaFee details in his cover story, that status is changing significantly. LaFee describes three districts that are using student feedback today, plus he’s compiled a list of excellent survey tools and other practical resources on the subject.

I hope after you’ve completed your time with this issue that you, our readers, will grade us qualitatively so that we can continuously improve our work here.


Jay P. Goldman, Editor
Voice: 703-875-0745
E-mail: jgoldman@aasa.org


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