Interesting article on student evaluations at: How to Read a Student Evaluation – Do Your Job Better – The Chronicle of Higher Education
Institutions develop a myriad of forms and processes for measuring teaching and learning effectiveness in the classroom. Some of these are formative, targeting student understanding and learning during a course, while others are, more commonly, summative – the classic course evaluation form in the last hour of a course’s semester. For academics they play a significant part in things like performance reviews, promotion, and continuation/tenure applications.
One of the things I find them useful for is getting traction to restructure courses that I’ve inherited or team-teach – always useful to be able to identify where something can by significantly improved (often will minimal effort), or to see what is working well.