Main Article Content
student surveys, higher education, quality, teaching evaluations, authenticity
The present study focuses on an examination of the differences in students ratings of instructors, comparing voluntary and optional survey participation modes. The study hypothesis stated that differences in participation modes may adversely affect the authenticity of assessments, due to concerns that students would retaliate against the mandatory nature of the task. To examine the study hypothesis, we sampled 46,205 student assessments in 2008/9 and 103,164 assessments completed in 2009/2010. The assessments involved 534 instructors who taught the same 1,014 courses in both years. Differences were measured in students overall ratings of the instructors, course structure and organization, clarity of lectures, instructors encouragement to ask questions, instructors attitudes toward students, and correspondence between lectures and tutorials. A significant unequivocal finding to emerge from this study is the absence of any association between the participation mode and students rating. Findings thus eliminate any concerns regarding lack of authenticity of the assessments in the mandatory participation mode. Due to the importance of student assessments, the academic privilege should be transformed into a requirement to allow academic institutions to evaluate the effectiveness of teaching more precisely.