Nieuws - 16 december 2009

Evaluation system fails the grade

Wageningen UR's evaluation system for educational quality is in need of a thorough overhaul, says Ken Giller, Professor of plant production systems.

'The current evaluation method leads to bizarre results: like people who haven't taught getting education bonuses. If an evaluation system can lead to such stupid mistakes, how can I be sure that someone on the bonus list has taught well? That's a useless evaluation system?!'
To prevent mistakes in future, Pim Brascamp, who awards the bonuses, will do a better check on the list of teachers up for a bonus. But that is not enough for Giller. He wants another method that reflects the educational quality delivered by teachers better.
'The current system disadvantages difficult courses. You can't leave educational evaluation entirely up to students. For a meaningful evaluation, the quality should also be assessed by experts. For example, you need to know whether the content of the course and the teaching methods fit the learning aims. This is how it is done in our neighbouring countries.' The university must have a reliable evaluation system, says Giller. Especially if the evaluations are going to be the basis for a bonus system and for staffing policy (tenure track).