There have been two Pre-Test entries so far here and there.
What we can know after reading the back and forth about this post is that SIU professors, in large numbers, are giving pre-tests. Many of them feel great about this, after all the students might not pass without them. Others feel it is cheating to tell the students the test questions a couple of days before the test. I don't have to think hard on the ethics of this one.
Some professors say that having management give raises based on student evaluations doesn't effect them or management isn't doing it. Others say this is silly. Now if you go and talk to the people who study the methods of teaching at SIU, they will tell you that SIU does give raises based on student evaluations and everyone knows it. They say, that anyone who doesn't think the management initiatives like this work are just fooling themselves.
I say that pushing for higher student evaluations and backing it with money is like beating a child. Everyone knows that beating a child is going to warp the child right? The child often doesn't realize their behavior is tied to being abused, they block that part out. This is why child molesters are often raped and killed in prison, some studies indicate that a majority of prisoners in the US were abused as children. Think about that for a while.
Now for the funny part. In the first thread there are a series of comments between Don Mills a former SIU professor and some random PoliSci professor. The first thing that struck me was how much better Don writes, but we have seen Don's writings here before and knew he was good. They go back and forth about student evaluations with claims and counter claims, finally I thought there was some clarity about how the pandering was happening at the entry level classes, the upper level classes are better because the losers have been weeded out.
What was interesting was how clearly different Don and the other guy reacted to their 100 level classes. I suspect that both are really good teachers and good people. But, the other day someone said to me, "you know that Polisci class the professor is so proud of?" "Yes," I replied. "It is multiple choice"
We are comparing a real math class with a class where you fill in the answers in bubbles? I looked in Google for a definition that would fit this and didn't find one. Let me do a new quote, never been heard before, "if you are doing multiple choice, it shouldn't be a college class."
My friend who pointed this out, he said to ask the PolySci guy, "if he would be so proud if the students were writing essays like they do a real universities."
I don't know the answer myself. Is the class multiple choice? If it is, all arguments that you are getting better teaching evaluations are BS. If you did Math 150 multiple choice, the math professors would get great evaluations too. Multiple choice is another version of pre-testing.
Your comments are welcome.