In a couple of recent posts (and this one) I’ve essentially been arguing that most evaluation of teaching at universities is actually worse the useless. The following quote from White (2006) provides some additional ammunition.

Research has suggested that grade leniency is the most significant factor in positive evaluation of teaching (Greenwald & Gilmore, 1997; Marsh & Roche, 2000). These pressures may be resulting in grade inflation by some teachers and departments, and concomitantly, unrealistic student expectations with respect to the marks they should be awarded.


Greenwald, A. G., & Gilmore, G. M. (1997). ‘No pain no gain’: The importance of measuring course workload in student ratings of instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(4), 743–751.

Marsh, H. W., & Roche, L. A. (2000). Effects of grade leniency and low workload on students’ evaluations of teaching: Popular myth, bias, validity or innocent bystanders? Journal of Educational Psychology, 92(1), 202–228.

White, N. (2006). “Tertiary education in the Noughties: the student perspective.” Higher Education Research & Development 25(3): 231-246.