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Students’ Evaluation on Teaching Performance of Teacher Education

Lecturers

CHUA LEE CHUAN (Ph.D)


chua_leechuan@yahoo.com

RAYMOND KHO KIANG HENG


raymondkho@gmail.com

Malaysia Teacher Education Institute, Batu Lintang Campus


Jalan Kolej, Kuching, Sarawak

Abstract
In an increasingly diverse teaching and learning environment today, there have
been countless discussions on the effectiveness of teaching. Even with decades
of research, the issue on effective teaching has yet to be resolved.
Acknowledging this literature gap, this study was conducted to measure
effectiveness of teaching using students’ evaluation of lecturers’ performance at
the end of the semester. A 10-item online instrument was used to measure
lecturers’ performance in one of the teaching education institutes in Sarawak. A
total of 5147 evaluations were collected and 94 lecturers were evaluated. The
findings of the study reviewed that none of the ten items on lecturers’
performance was given an ‘excellent’ rating. The students rated the lecturers as
‘very good’ in their teaching performance in four of the items. These four items
were related to the lecturers’ ability in conducting teaching learning activities in
accordance to the course pro-forma; the ability to implement course assignments
aligned to topics taught, display of commitment towards teaching and learning
and the ability in giving clear presentations. The students’ perceptions towards
the performance of the other six items were rated as ‘good’, which was one level
lower in the performance scale. The ‘good’ performance ratings were given to
effective management of teaching and learning, engaging active participation in
learning, monitoring and giving feedbacks, awareness on human capital
development, providing thought provoking activities and motivation to continue
learning. In terms of the differences in lecturers’ performance according to
gender, the study found that female lecturers were perceived as better
performers than their male counterparts and the differences were found to be
statistically significant. Recommendations of the study are also included in the
report.

Keywords: Student Evaluation; Lecturers’ Performance; Teacher Education;


Teaching Effectiveness

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Introduction

In an increasingly diverse and complex teaching and learning environment in


institution of higher learning, the area of primary concern is the drivers and
debates sparking a growing attention to good quality teaching. In fact, years of
research have proven that there is nothing more important for a learning
institution to provide for their students than giving them effective lecturers.
Jordan, Mendro, and Weerasinghe (1997) reported that by spending a few years
with effective teachers can put even the most disadvantaged students on the
path to success whereas a few years with ineffective teachers can deal students
an academic blow which they may never recover. Therefore, providing effective
lecturers to students should be an utmost consideration in higher institution of
learning, both private and public.

In a competitive world of education today most institutions of learning and


students at large demand for effective teaching and learning to take place, both
inside and outside the classroom. They expected effective lecturers to help raise
the level of students’ motivation to learn so that students’ academic and
nonacademic achievements can be further enhanced. This would significantly
contribute to satisfaction of students in learning which in turn affects the image of
the learning institution as well as student loyalty (Helgesen & Nesset, 2007).

However, most of the time lecturers pursue their own ideas or perceptions of
effective teaching and learning. Although perceptions may vary according to
subjects taught or individual areas of responsibility but often teaching and
learning activities include developing and implementing effective methods of
teaching, designing, preparing and developing teaching materials, assessing
students’ coursework, setting and marking examinations and supporting students
through a pastoral or advisory role. Most would also employ a wide range of
pedagogical approaches, considered effective, to facilitate students under their
supervision. Among these approaches may include lectures, seminars, tutorials,
practical laboratory demonstration, field works. or e-learning. Multimedia
technologies are also integrated and increasingly used in the classroom.

As lecturers progress with their day to day operation in the classroom, they need
to know whether the implementation of good effective teaching initiatives and
strategies used are well received by the students. One suitable method to
measure teaching effectiveness is students’ evaluation of lecturers’ performance,
which is often carried out at the end of the semester or at the end of a
course/programme in most institutions of learning.

Problem Statement

The teaching staff in any institutions of learning can vary enormously in their
ability to teach effectively. Many methods can be used to measure this variation
but one commonly used method is seen in using students’ evaluation of lecturers’

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performance. Students’ assessment or evaluation on performance was
introduced as early as the 1915 (Wachtel,1998). For many decades, the outcome
of students’ evaluation of teaching performance is seen as an important tool to
measure the effectiveness of teaching quality (Spooren & Mortelmans, 2006). It
would reflect on qualities associated with good teaching such as lecturers’
knowledge, clarity, classroom management and course organization. Besides
being a measurement tool on teaching excellence, the results of the evaluation is
beneficial in helping the lecturers and learning institution identify the specific
areas for improving the performance of the lecturer concern (Yeoh, Ho and
Chan, 2012). In some cases, the outcome of this evaluation is often used to
formulate key performance index of lecturers in staff appraisal for both promotion
and tenure decisions (Griffin, 1999; Liaw & Goh, 2003). As the possible benefits
that can be gained from students’ evaluation are multifaceted, its importance in
education cannot be ignored. In fact, numerous empirical studies on students’
evaluation of teaching performance have been conducted, both local and
international, but thorough search in literature reviewed that limited or possibly
none has been conducted in Teacher Education Institutes. Hence, this study was
conducted on add to sparse literature related to teaching performance of
lecturers. Excellent performance of lecturers in teacher education institute must
be thought of dynamically, in light of the diverse and complex school
environment. The contextual shifts in education demand for good quality
teachers from these institutes to meet the challenging demand of schools today.

Purpose of the Study

This study aimed to investigate the students’ perceptions of lecturers’


performance at the end of the semester in order to gauge the overall teaching
quality of the lecturers assigned to teach them throughout the semester.
Specifically, the study aims to answer the following research questions:
1. What are the students’ perceptions towards the teaching performance of
lecturers?
2. Is there any significant difference in the teaching performance of male and
female lecturers?

Literature Review

Students’ assessment or evaluation on performance in teaching is not a recent


phenomenon in the world of education. In fact the initiative taken to evaluate
teaching has started as early as the 1915 (Wachtel,1998). According to Wachtel
(1998), the first teacher rating scale was published in 1915 and the first study of
students’ evaluation of teacher effectiveness was written in the 1920s. For many
decades, the outcome of students’ evaluation of teaching performance is seen as
an important tool to measure the effectiveness of teaching quality. It has been
used to reflect on qualities associated with good teaching such as lecturers’
knowledge, clarity, classroom management and course organization.

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However, past studies on student evaluation reported several pitfalls. According
to The New Teacher Project (2010), teachers were rated based on two possible
ratings, satisfactory or unsatisfactory, in previous teacher evaluation systems.
This system made it impossible to distinguish great teaching from good, fair or
poor teaching. Consequently, it was also difficult to conclude if teaching
expectations were met or to identify specific lecturers that need additional
support tailored to their specific needs. To overcome this problem, the instrument
used in the present study to evaluate the lecturers’ performance were given 4
rating scale. The scale enabled ratings from the most ineffective lecturer to the
highly effective lecturer. This would give the lecturers and the learning institution
a clearer picture of the performance assessed by the students. The lecturer
concern would be able to know whether expectations were met and the
managing directors can be provided with clear information to help them make
both employment related or non-employment related decisions.

Beside the pitfalls reported, extensive research by psychologists and educators


have consistently reported that students’ evaluation on performance were
questionable in terms of its validity and reliability. The outcome of the evaluation
was reported biased as the student assessed the teaching performance based
on non-related learning measures which included race, gender, political ideology,
socio-economic status, attractiveness (Franklin, 2001; Huston, 2006; Merritt,
2008; Riniolo, Johnson, Sherman & Misso, 2006; Vaughns, 2003). In some
instances, students’ evaluations were influenced by the professors’ smiles,
gestures and other mannerisms, rather than the professors’ knowledge, clarity,
organization or other qualities associated with good teaching (Merritt, 2008).
These critics felt that this type of evaluations were not useful as the ratings that
students awarded did not bear any relationship with objective measures of
learning or what educators accomplished in the classroom.

Although the usefulness of students’ evaluation of lecturer’ performance is still


much doubted and questionable, it is still the most common tool used to assess
classroom teaching (Wright, 2006). According to Abrami (2001), there is no other
evaluation tool that supplies the same sort of measurable and comparable data
on students’ perceptions towards their teachers than having conventional system
of student evaluations. While some may deem these evaluations as highly
controversial and highly debated, past studies examining the reliability and
validity of data collected from student evaluation have reviewed that the
evaluations are reasonably reliable, valid and relatively free from bias (Centra
1993; d’Apollonia & Abrami 1997; Marsh & Dunkin 1992; Wachtel, 1998).

Additionally, a large volume of research has also reported on the benefits gained
from the information obtained from this practice. Beside being a measurement
tool on teaching effectiveness, the feedbacks obtained from the evaluation can
help the lecturer concern to grow and develop professionally through self-
reflecting on their practices. To the learning institution, the results of the
evaluation is beneficial to the managing directors to identify specific areas for

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improving the performance of the lecturers (Yeoh, Ho and Chan,2012) or
organizing relevant continuous professional development programme for skill
enhancement of the teaching staff. In some cases, the outcome of this evaluation
is used to formulate key performance index of lecturers in staff appraisal for both
promotion and tenure decisions (Griffin, 1999; Liaw & Goh, 2003). Some policy
makers may also use the information to make important decisions pertaining to
compensation, re-hiring and termination of contract teaching staff.

This implies that student evaluation of lecturers’ performance served to benefit


every participating member of the education community. As the possible benefits
that can be gained from students’ evaluation are multifaceted and findings of
such studies are considered reliable and valid, therefore, the importance of
students’ evaluation cannot be completely ignored.

Relationship between Student Evaluation and Gender

Several empirical studies on students’ evaluation of teaching performance


revealed gender differences. Most studies reported that students, generally on an
average, awarded lower rating for female educators than their male counterparts
(Farley, 1996; Mesner, 2000). For instance, a multivariate analysis of almost
17,000 student evaluation revealed significantly higher evaluation for male faculty
(Hamermesh & Parker,2005). Consistent with this finding was another study of
evaluation gathered in 741 courses taught at 21 different institutions, which also
showed that women faculty received significantly lower rating than male
colleagues (Centra & Gaubatz, 2000). According to Farley (1996) and Mesner,
2000), students perceived their female teachers as biased, having an agenda,
rigid, domatic, grumpy and angry while their male colleagues were seen as
objective, relaxed and comfortable, flexible, open-minded, good humoured and
fair. Although several studies have reported that male and female teachers
received different evaluation ratings from students, it is the aim of this study to
find out if this phenomenon exists in the current study.

Methodology
Research Design
This study aimed to investigate the perception of students towards the teaching
performance of lecturers. The researcher employed a quantitative research
methodology to address the predetermined research questions of the study.

Population
The population comprise of all the students pursuing a teacher education
programme in Teacher Education Insitute at Batu Lintang Campus in the year
2010. A total of 644 students from various teacher education programmes took
part in the study.

Instrumentation

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Since 2009, all the students enrolled in this institute were required to evaluate
their lecturers using an online teaching performance scale as specified by the
Department of Standards Malaysia which is a member of International
Organization for Standardization (MS ISO), a body that monitors the quality of
services rendered to the students. The scale comprised of ten statements to
determine lecturers’ teaching performance such as keeping to the course outline,
organizing teaching and learning activities, setting appropriate course
assignment, getting students involvement in the classroom, using suitable
delivery methods, providing feedbacks, motivating students and lecturers
personality traits. Each statement is scored on a four-point likert typed scale with
a score of 1 indicating unsatisfactory performance and a score of 4 to indicate
excellent performance. Completion of the evaluation form takes about 5-10
minutes.

Data Collection Procedure


Before the end of every semester, the students were informed to complete an
online evaluation form pertaining to their lecturers’ teaching performance. This is
a requirement set by the institute, in compliance with MS ISO, that all the
teaching staff be evaluated by the students under they care. As a result of the
evaluation process, the institute received 5147 completed evaluation forms
submitted by the students during the 2010 academic year and 94 lecturers were
evaluated.

Data Analysis
This research utilized actual students’ evaluation of lecturers’ performance
collected by the co-researcher who is also the media service officer and the
Information Technology (IT) personnel in collaboration with the coordinator of the
MS ISO committee of the institute. The data were analyzed using the programme
in-built into the system to generate the necessary statistics to represent the data
for reporting purposes. Statistical analyses such as, descriptive statistics, were
used to analyse the data. Among the descriptive statistics used were frequency
distribution, measures of central tendency and measures of variability. Mean
scores were calculated and standard deviation was used to measure variability.

For descriptive purposes, six arbitrary categories were created to explain the
variation of mean scores that reflected the actual level of lecturers’ performance
in the students’ evaluation. The minimum level of lecturers’ performance imposed
by MS ISO is a mean score of 3.50. Lecturers who achieved a mean score lower
than 3.50 in their performance ratings would be required to prepare a non-
conforming report (NCR) to explain what went wrong, the root cause of the
problem and what preventive actions should be taken.

3.90 – 4.00: excellent performance


3.80 – 3.89: very good performance
3.70 – 3.79: good performance

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3.60 – 3.69 : satisfactory performance
3.50 – 3.59 : marginal performance
1.00 – 3.49 : unsatisfactory performance

To determine the statistically difference between lecturers’ performance


according to gender, independent sample t-test statistics were used.

Results and Discussion

Demographic Profile of Lecturers

This study was conducted to measure lecturers’ performance using students’ end
of semester evaluation. Out of total 94 lecturers that were evaluated by the
students, 46 were female lecturers and 48 male lecturers. These lecturers were
placed in 11 departments with the majority from Language (24) and Educational
studies (15). The rest of the departments were social studies (7), Mathematics
(7), Physical and Health Education (7), Malay Studies (7), Research (6), Student
Welfare (5), Religious and Moral Studies (5), Science (5) and Educational
Technology (4).

Students’ Perception of Lecturers’ Performance

Students were given a 10-item instrument online to rate the lecturers teaching
performance. Table 1 displayed the mean scores and standard deviations of the
10 items in descending order. Among the ten items surveyed, the findings of the
study reviewed that none of the items were given a rating equivalent to ‘excellent’
performance. Nevertheless, all the items achieved the minimum mean score of
3.50, the standard imposed by MS ISO. The students perceived the teaching
performance of lecturers as ‘very good’ in 4 of the items while the remaining 6
items were rated as ‘good’ performance.

Table 1

Means and Standard Deviations of Lecturers’ Teaching Performance

Std.
No. Items on Teaching Performance Mean
Deviation
1 Implementation of teaching and learning activities in 3.85 0.12
accordance to course pro-forma
2 Implementation of the course assignment according 3.82 0.14
to topics taught
3 Commitment and professionalise displayed when 3.82 0.15
conducting teaching and learning activities,
4 Clear presentation of course content. 3.80 0.17
5 Effective management of teaching and learning 3.78 0.17
activities

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6 Active student participation in teaching and learning 3.77 0.15
activities.
7 Provide awareness on human capital development 3.77 0.15
8 Monitor and give feedbacks on student mastery of 3.77 0.16
learning.
9 Provision of learning activities that stimulate thinking. 3.76 0.16
10 Motivate students to pursue learning activities. 3.74 0.16

The four top performing items rated as ‘very good’ were related to the ability in
implementing the teaching learning activities in accordance to the course pro-
forma (M=3.85); the ability to implement course assignments based on topics
taught (M=3.82); commitment of lecturers towards teaching and learning
(M=3.82) and clear presentation of course content (M=3.80).

Among the ten items surveyed, the students perceived that the lecturers did
extremely well in implementing teaching and learning activities in accordance to
the course pro-forma, which received the highest rating from the students. By
adhering to the course pro-forma, students would be able to know what to learn,
how much to learn, how they would be assessed and what area of content would
be tested in the end of semester examination. Students perceived the course
pro-forma as an important tool to help them, not just acquire the necessary
knowledge and skills pertaining to their area of specialization, but also to do well
in course assignments and to pass the examination at the end of the semester.

The second highest in ranking relates to course assignments. The students


perceived lecturers performance as ‘very good’ in ensuring that assignments
were developed based on the topics taught in class. For almost all the courses
taken, students are required to accomplish a course assignment to assess, either
mastery and/or application of knowledge and skills acquired. Lecturers who
assigned coursework aligned to what was taught served as useful guide to
enable the students to accomplish the assignment successfully. It would not be
appropriate to assign students to read or review materials that are not relevant to
course. Nor should students be assessed on knowledge and skills which are not
specifically outlined as important in the course objectives. Hence, the students
perceived that lecturers had no problems in formatting questions or developing
activities in course assignments that are related to course content or course
objectives.

Another item in the list that received the second highest mean score as
implementation of course assignment was lecturers’ commitment to teaching and
learning. The students perceived the lecturers as committed to their teaching job.
Commitment is important as it is one of the key factors of successful teaching
and learning. Lecturers who are committed often showed concern towards the

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development of students’ academic or non-academic achievements.
Commitment is also displayed in how motivated students are in learning, the
efforts lecturers put in to preparing lectures, assignments and even comments
made on tests and paper. This finding showed that students perceived the
lecturers as committed to teaching and learning.

The fourth item that students rated as ‘very good’ performance relates to giving
clear presentation of course content. Lecturers who are able to give clear
presentation can assist the students in making sense of and absorbing new
knowledge and skills taught. Students would welcome lecturers who are able to
present the material in a clear and logical sequence. The material presented
must also be intelligible and meaningful to the students. It is important not to
overburden them with too many main points in each lecture and not to use too
many different types of presentation materials, which can confused the learners.
The lecturers’ performance was perceived as ‘very good’ in this aspect.

Among the ten items surveyed, the students perceived the lecturers’
performance as ‘very good’ in these four areas which received the top four
ratings from the students. However, the mean scores of lecturers’ performance
dropped in the other six areas. Although, the mean scores of lecturers’
performance achieved the minimum level imposed by MS ISO, the students
perceived their performance as ‘good’, which was one level lower in the
performance scale. The six areas were related to effective management of
teaching and learning activities (M=3.78); active participation in teaching and
learning activities (M=3.77), monitoring and giving feedbacks (M=3.77),
awareness on human capital development (M=3.77), providing thought provoking
activities (M=3.76) and motivation to continue learning (M=3.74).

Effective management of teaching and learning activities is an integral part of


teaching effectiveness. It can include setting suitable teaching and learning
objectives, determining what to teach, knowledge, skills or attitudes, how to
teach, the approaches and strategies to employed, how to assess, formative or
summative and whether remedial or enrichment programmes should be
introduced as a follow-up to the lesson. Hence, proper planning, organizing and
managing teaching and learning activities can contribute to maximize students’
motivation, involvement and cooperation in learning. The students perceived the
lecturers’ performance as good in this aspect.

The ability of lecturers in eliciting active participation is also perceived as good


only. Student participation or engagement should be encouraged in today’s
classroom. Through participation, students are more motivated (Junn, 1994),
learn better (Weaver & Qi, 2005), improved communication skills (Dancer &
Kamvounias, 2005) and are better critical thinkers (Crone, 1997). Lecturers
should recognize the importance of student participation and reduce dependence
on teacher-centered teaching methodologies such as lecture method, which
restrict students’ engagement in the lesson. In fact, the traditional lecture-only

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format is losing its prevalence in the classroom today. Instead, it has been
replaced with mixed delivery method such as group discussion, dyadic work or
peer review to minimize lecturing. In class participation has become increasingly
important today especially among millennial generation students who demand
more interaction from their classroom experience (Allred & Swenson, 2006;
Howe & Strauss, 2000).

Equally important to participation is giving feedbacks to students, which the


students rated the lecturers’ performance as ‘good’. Students want to know how
well they are progressing and which areas of improvement are needed.
According to Ip (2005), the knowledge that they are progressing well gives them
a sense of achievement and motivates learning. At the same time, students need
to know where they have gone wrong so that corrective measures can be taken.
Hence, to be an effective lecturer, it is absolutely essential to monitor students’
learning and give them feedback. There are various approaches that lecturers
can choose to give feedbacks, such as, to individual students, to a group or to
the whole class.

Students also perceived that lecturers awareness on human capital development


need to be increased or further enhanced as it was rated as ‘good’ only.
Lecturers need more awareness on the new and existing knowledge,
competencies, social and personality attributes that are needed in the teaching
profession. Due to the complexity of the profession, lecturers need to assist
students to constantly learn, unlearn and relearn where necessary so that
teaching and learning will always remain relevant. Hence, awareness in human
capital development is important for both the trainers and trainees.

The second last in the ranking of ten items which was given a ‘good’ rating, is
related to lecturers used of learning activities that require thinking skills.
Lecturers should be encouraged to use more thought-provoking learning
activities where students can learn actively either through reading, writing,
listening, questioning or reflecting as compared to the standard modes of
instruction in which learners passively absorb the knowledge transmitted by the
lecturer. There is a growing body of research that concluded that when students
have ample opportunities to clarify, questions and reflect, their critical thinking
skills improved, retention and transfer of new information increased, motivation
increased and improvement in interpersonal skills, resulting in overall
improvement in quality of learning (Centre of teaching and learning, 2008).
Therefore, lecturers need to create or provide more opportunities through
thought-provoking learning activities to engage the students actively in the
teaching and learning process. Such activities, among others, may include group
discussion, problem solving, case studies, role plays or journal writing.

The items that scored the lowest mean score relates to student motivation.
Students perceived the lecturers’ skills in motivating students to continue learning
was comparatively less successful than other skills surveyed. Motivating students

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to learn is important as motivation energizes, directs and sustains behaviour
which keeps them going (Ormrod, 2008). The motivation would be reflected in
their cognitive, emotional and behavioural engagement in learning activities
(Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). It determines whether the learning
activities are accomplished enthusiastically, apathetically or lackadaisically.
Virtually, all students are motivated to learn but need the extra push from their
lecturers to keep them going. By playing the role of a motivator, lecturers can
help promote continuous learning as well as long-term success and productivity
in the students.

Relationship between Student Evaluation and Gender

Out of total 94 lecturers that were evaluated by the students, 46 were female
lecturers and 48 male lecturers. In terms teaching performance by gender, the
findings showed the rating for female lecturers (M= 3.82) were higher than male
lecturers (M= 3.75) which implied that female lecturers were perceived as better
performers than male lecturers. Further data analysis using independent sample
t-test was used to determine the differences in mean scores between male and
female lecturers. The data analysis displayed in Table 2, showed that the
differences in males and female teaching performance were found to be
statistically significant. It can be concluded that female lecturers performed better
than male lecturers in terms of teaching performance. However, this finding
seemed to contradict past studies, as generally, female educators were awarded
lower rating than their male counterparts (Farley, 1996; Mesner, 2000;
Hamermesh& Parker,2005; Centra & Gaubatz, 2000).

Table 2
Independent sample t-test of Teaching Performance and Gender

Mean Std. Error


Gender N Mean t df F sig
Difference Difference
Male 46 3.75
-2.315 92 -.068 .029 10.907 .001
Female 48 3.82

Implications and Recommendations

The purpose of this study is to investigate perceived lecturers’ performance using


students’ end of semester online evaluation. The findings of the study reviewed
that none of the ten items on lecturers’ performance was given an ‘excellent’
rating. The students perceived the teaching performance of lecturers as ‘very
good’ in 4 of the items surveyed. These four items were related to the ability in
conducting the teaching learning activities in accordance to the course pro-forma;
the ability to design course assignments aligned to topics taught, display of
commitment towards teaching and learning and the ability in giving clear
presentations. It is hoped that lecturers would continue to maintain the strengths
as detected from the empirical data of the study.

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On the other hand, the findings also served to provide valuable information to
lecturers on areas of personnel improvement related to their teaching and
learning performance. The students’ perceptions on performance towards the
remaining six items were rated as ‘good’ which was one level lower in the
performance scale. These items were related to effective management of
teaching and learning activities, participation in learning, monitoring and giving
feedbacks, awareness on human capital development, providing thought
provoking activities and motivation to continue learning. This performance
evaluation results disclosed areas of knowledge and skills that lecturers should
consider for further enhancement. The results served to provide feedbacks to
lecturers on their teaching effectiveness and if performance evaluation results
are seriously taken into consideration, it can lead to overall quality improvement
of the lecturer’s teaching performance.

This finding also served to benefit managing directors by disclosing future


training needs of lecturers. According to Nakpodia (2011), evaluation is an
information gathering process where the information obtained can be used for
the purpose of aiding decision makers. Managing directors, being the main
decision makers can use the information gathered through the evaluation
process to help them in their decision making pertaining to the existing or
planned continuous professional development (CPD) courses for the teaching
staff. Hence, based on the findings of the study, suitable and relevant CPD
courses can be designed, focussing on areas where ratings of performance were
relatively lower.

When evaluations of lecturers’ performance are rigorously executed, the


information gained can serve multiple purposes. To the lecturers, they would be
able to know their strengths and weakness as perceived by the students. By
maintaining their strengths and overcoming their weaknesses, overall quality of
teaching and learning would be heightened. To the faculty heads, being more
informed of the teaching staffs’ performance can assist them in making better
decisions to improve or sustain educational standards by providing excellent
lecturers to students who need them most and by advancing policies and
practices that ensure effective teaching and learning in every classroom. Beside
quality improvement and maintaining educational standards, evaluations of
teaching performance is one of the keys to validate policies, plans and
procedures operating within the institution (Walklin, 1992). For instance, the
information from the evaluation exercise could also be used by decision makers
to determine staff promotions or even to extend service of contract staff.

Students are the actual recipients of the teaching and learning process and thus,
are in a better position to assess lecturers’ teaching excellence. However, it is
important to note that although using student evaluation is considered as the best
approach when evaluating lecturers (Nakpodia, 2011) there are several pitfalls to
this type of evaluations. Doubts have been raised over the validity and reliability
of student ratings of teaching performance. For instance, Okoro (1991) reported

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that students sometimes fill in what they think the teacher would like rather than
how they feel about them. Okoro (1991) also reported that some teachers treated
the students leniently in order to obtain favourable ratings from them. This is
commonly known as Dr Fox Effect (Merritt, 2008; Ware & William, 1975). This
effect can take place when a lecturer can entice favourable evaluation though his
lecture may have little or no substance or content. Instead of increasing learning,
the lecture was filled with lively non-verbal behaviours such as lively expression,
warm gestures, good appearance and varied vocal tones to engage student
interest in learning. According to Merritt (2008), lecturers who used more of such
non-verbal mannerisms in classrooms tend to be given higher student ratings
than those who don’t use them. According to Marsh (1988), there are also
several other factors that can influence the validity of student ratings. For
instance, students tend to give higher ratings if they have prior subject interest
where courses taken are aligned to their interest or if they know the raters are not
anonymous. Hence, to what extent the student ratings of lecturers are valid and
reliable in still a matter of controversy. Nevertheless, students being the
recipients of teaching and learning, should be in a better position to evaluate
lecturers’ performance. The information they provide should be a good indicator
of teaching performance which can help to increase personnel improvements
and educational standards.

The results of the study merely add to the sparse or non-existent literature
related to lecturers’ performance in this institute. Therefore, further research
should be conducted to add to this body of knowledge. As validity of students’
ratings is still questionable, future research could use more rigorous research
design as opposed to online data collection used in this study to increase validity
of student evaluations. Since student ratings, alone would not be able to provide
all the necessary information on lecturers’ performance, future researcher can
use more naturalistic data collections through individual interviews or real in-
class observations of teaching performance. It would be interesting for future
researchers to also investigate lecturers’ performance that go beyond academic
responsibilities in the classroom, such as research publications and participation
in academic conferences, workshops and seminars. Such involvements have
been proven to increase lecturers’ performance in the classroom. Evaluations of
lecturers performed by peers, heads of department and managing directors could
also be investigated in future studies.

Reference

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Allred, C. R., & Swenson, M. J. (2006). Using technology to increase student
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Centra, J.A. & Gaubatz, N.B. (2000). Is there gender bias in student evaluations
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