Thought Processes College Students Use When Evaluating Faculty: A Qualitative Study

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Mary Beth Pinto
Phylis M. Mansfield


Student Evaluations of Teaching, Thought Processes, College Students


This study explores the thought processes college students use when answering survey questions on standardized course/faculty evaluations.   Thought processes are categorized as: System One or System Two, based on the framework developed by Kahneman (2003) and Stanovich and West (2000). System One processes are typically hurried, superficial, effortless, and charged with emotions. System Two processes are considered to be slower, more deliberate, thoughtful evaluations. Results from eight focus group discussions are provided.  Student responses were categorized according to their adherence to System One or System Two cognitive processing. In total, 59% of the student responses were categorized as System One. Implications for faculty and higher education administrators are presented.


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