‘Judging’ Students is the New Evaluation

Posted: June 30, 2016 - to Study
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It is the time for evaluations again, a time of anxiety for both professors and students. The classroom becomes a battleground, and everyone that is not you will be seen as a threat. Many people will argue that the professor is only there for your benefit, but how unbiased are they really when they give out an evaluation to a student? Are they ever influenced by psychological factors, or are they entitled to use anything to evaluate the students, including their behavior and status? Can they give you a rating based on whether they like you or not? When you start looking for an answer about which party is in the wrong, you will need to consider the authorities coming from both camps: students versus professors.

Gender Differences

There is no surprise to find out that someone judges you the wrong way simply because you are different than them. Psychologically speaking, we seek those who are the same as us and repel those who are not. There are some main factors that decide the rating of a student:

  • Gender
  • Social status
  • Race
  • Political and religious views
  • Appearance

In this sense, we can see female professors giving negative feedback to their male students simply because there is some ‘chilly climate’ between them. The woman’s primal instinct is to be wary of the man that has been oppressing her since the beginning of time. In this case, you might notice a woman professor giving a different, better evaluation to a girl student rather than a boy.

The same thing can apply to male professors evaluating female students. Considered to be the ‘weaker sex,’ women are evaluated more harshly by the male professors. Most men still consider that te females’ role in the world should be limited and that certain jobs such as an academic career, engineering and others are only meant for men. So, while female students may receive a harsher evaluation from male professors, the male students will receive a better, easier evaluation whether they notice it or not.

Ratings are Biased for Both Parties

Each year, students will be asked to evaluate their professors. In the eyes of most professors, those evaluations are in no way unbiased. Professors are evaluated for their political thinking, their personality, their good or bad days and their clothing rather than their teaching skills.

The same thing can also apply to the evaluated students. Rather than being evaluated on how well they perform in class, they are valued based on entirely different things. Their attire, how long or short their hair is, what their religious or political views are, what color their skin is, these are usually the things that pop up when an evaluation is being handed.

Harsh evaluations based on race are also a common thing nowadays. For example, if you are a black person in an all-white class, you might be evaluated more harshly if the professor is white. Vice-versa, if the teacher is also black, you might receive a better evaluation compared to the rest of your class that is white.

So the question remains: are student evaluations meant to bring the good out of the individual or to break them down? It is clear that each case is individual, but can we really say that students are rated based on their levels of intelligence? It is somewhat clear that there is a wall between teachers and students, and many do not have the ability to see past the appearances. However, we can conclude that while other factors than the student’s knowledge and skills are used as evaluation factors, they all have negative and positive effects.

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