Debate continues over teacher evaluations

By Rick Moreci

The debate about whether or not teacher evaluations should be released to students through Student Association publication is still going strong.

The boycott of the evaluations, which started Monday, still is not over. As long as evaluations are being handed out in classes, the SA encourages students not to fill them out.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, The Northern Star ran a phone poll to see how students felt about the boycott. In two days, a total of 544 students called to vote. The phone poll question was, “Do you think teachers should be required to release the results of their evaluations?”

Of the 544 respondents, 137 answered “no” and the other 407 students answered “yes” and felt teachers should be required to release evaluations so all students can see them.

Students have stated valid reasons for wanting to see the evaluations.

For instance, the evaluations can be very helpful in the selection process of general education classes.

Students would have the chance to read the results of evaluations of different teachers in the class of their choice, and pick the one that best suits them.

Teachers have argued against releasing evaluation results by saying that evaluations of students are not available to allow teachers to pick what students enroll in their classes, so students should not be able to pick their professors the same way.

The book the SA wants to publish, which would primarily be made up of all evaluations, could also include information on the teaching techniques of individual instructors.

SA President Abe Andrzejewski said NIU published these types of books in the 1960s. Examples of the books can be found in the NIU archives room in Swen Parson Hall.

Included in the old books are ways in which professors taught their classes and what they expected from their students.

Andrzejewski said in an interview Monday, “Imagine if you could know what a teacher is looking for in a paper before you even write it. This could really help a student in these particular classes a lot.”

There also are teachers who explained what their testing procedures are. This also could be a great benefit to students.

Andrzejewski could not be reached to comment on how he felt about the results of the phone poll.