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Clive- I don't think you could find more people than would
fit in an average sized closet in this country - students or
faculty - who are pleased with teaching evaluations. The
exceptions are those folks who make a career out of
statistically demonstrating that there is no link between
positive evaluations and easy grading.
 
        The best feedback mechanism I've heard of for
actually improving a course in progress is the so-called
"one-minute paper" that was first discussed and evaluated at
Harvard by Richard Light. This is mostly useful for
lectures, so I don't know how effective it might be in
tutorial situations. Basically, the lecturer asks students
to spend 1 minute of lecture time at the end of a class
period to answer in a short paragraph something like: What
was the central point of today's lecture?  The advantage is
that these short responses get at the real question: did the
student understand what the instructor just spent an hour
trying to present. If, as at Harvard, instructors who use
this system read the 1-minute papers prior to the next
lecture, they can adjust accordingly.
 
Richard Toscan, Dean <[log in to unmask]>
School of Fine & Performing Arts
Portland State University