Skip navigation
The Australian National University

Student evaluations of teaching are unreliable and biased against female instructors

In a blog post for the London School of Economics, Anne Boring, Kellie Ottoboni and Philip B. Stark review studies of student evaluations of teaching (SET) across countries and disciplines, finding students regularly rating female instructors lower than male instructors. The authors 'argue the findings warrant serious attention in light of increasing pressure on universities to measure teaching effectiveness.'  These findings are especially significant given the weight that universities give these evaluations with regard to promotions and appointments.

'The sign of any connection between SET and teaching effectiveness is murky, whereas the associations between SET and grade expectations and between SET and instructor gender are clear and significant. Because SET are evidently biased against women (and likely against other underrepresented and protected groups)—and worse, do not reliably measure teaching effectiveness—the onus should be on universities either to abandon SET for employment decisions or to prove that their reliance on SET does not have disparate impact.'

Read the full post here.

Updated:  7 November, 2012/Responsible Officer:  Convenor, Gender Institute/Page Contact:  Web manager, Gender Institute