Are student ratings of instruction useful?
Despite the lead article's title, “Validity Concerns and Usefulness of Student Ratings of Instruction” (Greenwald, November 1997) in the American Psychologist 's special section on teacher ratings, the articles did not provide direct evidence on “usefulness.” There is no evidence that the use of teacher ratings improves learning in the long run. The articles do not show that the effects would improve the allocation of effort between teaching and research, or that the quality of the educational experience would be better, or that students and faculty would be happier. Given the evidence to date, the case for teacher ratings is weak. I raise some questions about usefulness, with a particular emphasis on the ratings' effects on learning.