These articles provide a quick overview of the different debates that surround student evaluations of teaching. For more information about the effect of educator's identities in teaching and learning, see the Teacher Identity page of the CTL's Inclusive Teaching LibGuide.
The article below, published on the Blog of Rice University's Center for Teaching Excellence puts into perspective the debate over the value of student evaluations of teaching. It includes an overview of the research literature on this subject as well as an examination of the press coverage that this practice has received in higher education news as well as national media outlets, like NPR.
This article by Stark & Freishtat (2014) started the most recent large-scale debate about the nature and use of student evaluations:
An Evaluation of Course Evaluations: Citation | Download (PDF, 222 KB)
Prompting various responses, including a two-part report from IDEA (Benton, 2014):
An Evaluation of “An Evaluation of Course Evaluations” Part 1 | Part 2
In a nutshell, student evaluations of teaching must be designed deliberately to provide meaningful feedback to faculty and to include students' voices in the learning process, but they must also be interpreted patiently by educators and fairly by institutions. Either way, they cannot be ignored, as the article above indicates.