Evaluations & Anonymous Feedback

Journal Club Article: Lakeman, R., Coutts, R., Hutchinson, M., Lee, M., Massey, D., Nasrawi, D., & Fielden, J. (2021). Appearance, insults, allegations, blame and threats: an analysis of anonymous non-constructive student evaluation of teaching in AustraliaAssessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 1-14.

This paper demonstrates a worrying ‘hate speech’ that may pervade into evaluations that are anonymous and are not constructive to course development, and have the potential to impact academic well-being. Maybe in small controlled survey populations this openess may be safe, but in large populations the risk of more harm than good is increased and this type of language has no place in education. As an educator it is worth considering the implications of evaluations and feedback, how results are interpreted, presented and acted upon. Who has the data, is this ran by the organisation for educator performance review purposes, or is it all to gain valuable learners feedback on the learning experience. This paper and the social media discussion below around the paper provides some challenging reading regarding academics experiences.

Summary: Evaluations of teaching through anonymous feedback in higher education setting.

Five themes were identified:

  • Allegations
  • Insults
  • Comments about appearance, attire and accent
  • Projections and blame
  • Threats and punishment

“well-being of teaching staff, could contribute to occupational stress and in some cases could be considered libellous.”