Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning
New study adds to evidence that student reviews of professors have limited validity.
September 21, 2016, Inside Higher Ed, Colleen Flaherty
A number of studies suggest that student evaluations of teaching are unreliable due to various kinds of biases against instructors.... Yet conventional wisdom remains that students learn best from highly rated instructors; tenure cases have even hinged on it.
What if the data backing up conventional wisdom were off? A new study suggests that past analyses linking student achievement to high student teaching evaluation ratings are flawed, a mere “artifact of small sample sized studies and publication bias.”
“Whereas the small sample sized studies showed large and moderate correlation, the large sample sized studies showed no or only minimal correlation between [student evaluations of teaching, or SET] ratings and learning,” reads the study, in press with Studies in Educational Evaluation. “Our up-to-date meta-analysis of all multisection studies revealed no significant correlations between [evaluation] ratings and learning.” ...
Full report with links at https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/09/21/new-study-could-be-another-nail-coffin-validity-student-evaluations-teaching
Of course, if you read the above as an instructor - and if you always knew it - remember there is also something called "confirmation bias."
But it's also true that a finding of zero ain't nothing: