Evals! Oh happy day! February 6, 2012Posted by mareserinitatis in education, engineering, teaching.
Tags: evaluations, students, teaching
I had to make a run down to campus and, while there, I picked up my evals from last semester. Apparently there were no comments on the evals because I just received a sheet for each class summarizing my ‘grades’.
I had been dreading this day for quite a while. I had a couple of cranky students at the end of last semester. I was also worried. When teaching geology labs, it seemed like I got some very pissed off students who left simply nasty evals. (I discussed this on my old blog a couple times.) Compared to some of the other TAs, my evals usually came out worse. A lot of this had to do with the perception that I was a harder grader. In reality, I graded more easily on labs and more harshly on exams, so my averages were about the same as everyone else. But that’s not what the students think.
Anyway, so I sat down with my numbers and discovered that some classes had better or worse perception than others. For instance, my first Thursday class gave me the lowest scores (3.6 out of 5 for a couple questions) while the class right after that gave me the highest scores (4.5 of 5). My Tuesday classes were somewhere in between. The smallest class was the happiest, but the largest class wasn’t the unhappiest. I’m not sure what happened with that one Thursday class, though, as it was a lot lower than the others. Maybe I need to make sure to regale future students with my huge stack of nerdy science jokes.
They said the average for the department was around 4.2…but I realized that they were talking about the University Studies department, not engineering. (The class is listed under University Studies, but some departments choose to have their own teachers for the class, as was the case for the sections I taught.) I’m actually relieved that my scores were on par with the rest of the University Studies department given I heard many complaints about how much more work my students had to do relative to other sections (which weren’t being run by engineering). Despite the fact I “worked them to death,” they were still okay with it.
That’s good because it’s not going to get any easier for them.
It’s looking,therefore, like last semester went as well as could be expected, especially given it was my first time teaching it and the whole thing was an experiment. I wish there was some way to see if the kids really did get anything out of it to help with their long-term academic goals, though.