“Student evaluations favour white males, so toss them.” Seriously?


A few posts ago, I discussed how “aptitude” tests weren’t giving equality of outcome, so they were labeled RACIST and tossed, via a supreme court ruling which directly led to the mess we have today in higher education.

That was 50 years ago…but not much has changed in tactics for the Progressives, as we’ll see in today’s topic.

SETs, Student Evaluations of Teaching, have long been a sticking point for faculty. The failing students always trash you bitterly (as is their right), but the other students usually don’t care much. Bottom line, SETs are good for identifying raging fires in the classroom, but past that they’re pretty weak for identifying if a teacher is any good.

Figuring out if a teacher is any good is a tough business, and honestly the only way to do it is put another teacher in the classroom and observe (as nerve-wracking as that is for the observed). This would be very time-consuming, but effective and useful work. We have loads and loads of administrators to do that now, but they’re not teachers, so they take the lazy route and just use the SETs to determine who the good teachers are. Clever teachers learn that the easy way to look good on the SETs is to fail nobody—only the failing students ever put down nasty reviews, after all.

SETs can easily represent the make-or-break of a faculty member getting a permanent position, and many campuses use them as the de-facto deciding factor all hiring/tenure positions, even if on paper they’ll say something different.

While I acknowledge their minimal usefulness, overall I’d be ok if they weren’t a deciding factor in any big decisions. That said, this guy is nuts:

Berkeley prof wants to nix student evals after white male profs score higher

I find this thinking infuriating on two levels.

First, much like with that supreme court ruling, we see the same structure of foolish interpretation of results—we don’t get equality of outcome, so things must change, even if such changes can damn tens of millions to eternal debt slavery, at least that was the end result of the supreme court ruling. Before we wholesale toss the SETs, we really need to think things through here, and we would, but that insanity rules our campuses.

Far more infuriating? Whenever there’s a study that shows students prefer, say, a female or person of color in an administrative position, instantly and irrevocably the campus moves to make sure to hire the appropriate genitals/skin color to parade in front of the students. Never is “sexism” or “racism” used to explain the results of the study.

Here we have a study saying students prefer white male faculty. Instead of admin tripping over themselves to hire white male faculty, we have the cry of “sexism” or “patriarchy” or whatever used to justify tossing the study.

But…the fact remains. The study says students prefer white male faculty, and it’s hardly the only study with such a result. I can respect ignoring the study (since it’s all supposed to be about education, not making students happy), but this wild mis-interpretation of the results of the study just to advance the lunatic Progressive Agenda of equality of outcome for everyone (except white males) is vilely offensive.

“Instructor race is also associated with SET…” DeLay said in a follow-up tweet, referencing the study’s finding that minority professors tend to receive, on average, “significantly lower” scores than their white, male counterparts. He goes on to mention the study’s claim that “age, charisma, and physical attractiveness” also factor into evaluations. “

Seriously, charisma, likeability, is a factor in how well students like the professor? The guy is reaching quite a bit to reinforce his point. He never addresses why we can’t take the study at face value, and accept, bare minimum, that students prefer white male professors, much less—heresy!—address the possibility that white male professors tend to be better at their jobs (a reasonable interpretation of the results of the study, although I again say we shouldn’t read too much into this).

A few comments reinforce how tone-deaf the professor’s claims are:

Hmmm…woman professors score lower, while 60% of college graduate are now female. I think the lesson here is two-fold: 1) Female professors must objectively suck compared to male professors; and 2) we clearly need to get more men into universities,

The solid majority of students on campus are female…and still male professors are coming out on top. A more natural question then is it really that females are this self-hating, or do we really have superiority for a certain gender of professor? Instead of asking a real question, we simply have shouts of “SEXIST!” Maybe pointy-headed academics are asking too many obscure questions, but honest that’s what higher ed is supposed to be, instead of shouting slurs and simply refuting studies which don’t yield the desired results.

If the results were inverse, they would be using them as justification to genocide white males.

Agreed; maybe not the genocide bit, but ultimately it’s the error of omission that will eventually cause studies like this to be tossed and ignored, while, yes, every study that shows even the most minimal advantage going to a female or “protected minority” gets shoved to the forefront and used to justify ever more destructive policies.