Tuesday, April 10, 2007
If you do not know what "thin slice judgment" means and you are a teacher whose retention, promotion, or tenure depends in part on student evaluations, you owe it to yourself to read Deborah Merritt's article on Bias, the Brain, and Student Evaluations of Teaching, Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 87 (January 2007). You can download or print it free of charge via SSRN.
Among the studies Professor Merritt reports on are those that show evaluations made by students in the first five minutes of a course accurately predict student teaching evaluations at the end of the entire course. She explains how the studies indicate a few non-verbal communication factors account for most of the results in student evaluations. And she suggests better ways for law schools to get more meaningful input from students about their courses.