The Student Ratings Debate: Are They Valid? How Can We Best Use Them?

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This volume of New Directions for Institutional Research is devoted to student ratings, a topic that continues to occupy a central role in post secondary education. Student ratings of instruction are widely used on college and university campuses in North America and increasingly throughout the world as sources of feedback on instructional effectiveness. They serve as tools for instructional improvement, as evidence for promotion and tenure decisions, as the means for student course selection, as one criterion of program effectiveness, and as the continuing focus of active research and intensive debate.

The present volume offers a summary of key issues surrounding student ratings and some provocative suggestions for new directions for research and practice. Our hope is that it effectively blends the new with the old, that it provides an insightful and refreshing approach to the subject, that the consistency of the experts' judgement is evidence of the clarity of the conclusions that can be drawn, and that the different emphases the contributors provide will prove useful in future research and practice.

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