Student Course Evaluations Research Models and Trends

Research Summary:

Student Course Evaluations: Research, Models and Trends represents the first review and summary of existing research on student course evaluations from a Canadian perspective. The study aims to capture and synthesize the key issues and findings regarding the validity and utility of student course evaluations from the substantial body of scholarship in this area.

The paper finds that student course evaluations are a widely-used and generally reliable tool for assessing teaching quality. However, there are a variety of issues that persist around the use of student evaluation and prevent their more effective use: myths and misconception about results; unclear definitions of quality teaching; poor user education; poor presentation of results; and inconsistent policies for use.

By addressing these issues, the authors suggest student course evaluations can become better  formative tools for improving teaching performance and assessing teaching quality at a system level.


Pamela Gravestock  is the associate director of the Office of Teaching Advancement at the University of Toronto where she works with faculty on a range of teaching and learning issues and initiatives. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Group (Theory & Policy Studies) at OISE/UT.

Emily Gregor-Greenleaf is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Group (Theory & Policy Studies) at OISE/UT. She is also currently a research assistant with both the Office of Teaching Advancement and the Teaching Assistants’ Training Program at the University of Toronto.​