Section 2.2.2 Predominance of SET

Section 2.2.2 Predominance of SET

Section 2.2.2 Predominance of SET

SET has generated thousands of research papers since 1920s addressing each facet of the process, i.e., faculty, students, courses, and other variables (administrative, environmental, etc.). (Başaran, Kalaycı & Atay, 2011), and few issues have stimulated so much debate (Clayson, 2009).

While there are many ways in which SET data are used (See Section 3), Third level institutions in the United States and increasingly throughout Europe as well, use the student evaluation primarily as evidence of quality teaching and for administrative or personnel decision (Solis, 2003).

In Ireland publication of the National Strategy Group on Higher Education (2011) (commonly referred to as the Hunt Report), in line with the call for institution-level feedback systems in the Bologna Declaration, recommended that “Higher Education institutions should put in place systems to capture feedback from students, and use this feedback to inform institutional and programme management” (page 50)

These systems tend to utilise student surveys, referred to by Ramsden as ‘the heaven-sent gadget that will improve teaching performance’ (Ramsden, 1992, p. 230). While methods such as classroom observation, self-assessment, student learning and achievement and peer evaluation could be employed, student ratings remain the most dominant in higher education settings (Balam & Shannon, 2010). As a result SET surveys collected towards the end of the term have become an almost universally accepted method of gathering this information (Zabaleta, 2007).

Despite their widespread appeal, however, Palmer (2011) reports that a recent Australian study demonstrated such surveys to be largely idiosyncratic and developed internally without reference to each other, and rarely to have an explicit theoretical basis (Barrie, Ginns, and Symons 2008).

Activity 2.2.2

Based on your use of SET in the past – what role has SET played for you?

How does this differ from how you think it could or should be used?

Submit your answers


A copy of the Hunt Report can be found at

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