Should Students Be Able To Grade Their Teachers?

Image from the NY Times.

By Esther Jourdain

Feb 20. 2019

It’s clear that students want a voice in their education, and a good way to achieve this would be to allow them to evaluate their teachers.

Many schools around the country are trying to determine how teachers are performing in classrooms by using test score data and getting administrators to observe the teachers and the classes. But shouldn’t the students also get involved in the discussion? Aren’t the students the one who spend the most time with their teachers?

Students can offer information that school administrators may have missed. Some people would disagree with the notion of student evaluations because it goes against the traditional idea of student obedience, but they are ignoring the potential benefits that this new situation could bring. Students should be given the chance helping teachers improve their practice to better meet the multiple needs of students.  According to American Association of School Administrators, schools already employing such a practice have found that it increases student engagement and helps improve the classroom experience both for the students and the teachers.

Stacia Nugent, a senior in the IB program at Boyd Anderson high school, says, “Every student should be able to grade their teachers in classrooms; it should stay between the student and teachers.”

We as students should be entitled to expressing our own constructive opinions on what we need as learners. We should be able grade teachers in a different capacity from the administration, which often relies on student test scores to judge teacher performance. Sometimes students are asked to provide informal critiques of teachers, but the process should be formalized to include an anonymous, written evaluation that all students have the chance to complete.  This would give us a more official way to communicate to teachers what they need to change or improve for a student to understand what is being taught. It would help teachers improve their teaching and build rapport with the students.

So, giving students the opportunity would be beneficial because it would offer them the opportunity to inform their teachers about what the teachers can do to improve the classroom experience. Since most students are interested in their education, there are lots of incentives that encourage candor in student feedback. Overall, these evaluations would give the students a voice in the education system that could positively impact their day-to-day lives and their futures.

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