An established tool of student empowerment in American higher education, student evaluations are a staple in all classes at the end of each semester. A journalist-professor friend who is less than enamored of teaching caustically refers to them as “customer service.” Translation: He has been burned by his students. But his larger meaning is that higher education, like American society in general, is increasingly market-driven, and by his jaded reckoning a student and his parents are not markedly different from Harry the Striving Suburbanite roaming the aisles of Home Depot.
Student response to the product must be quantified — a college education is a product for which someone is paying upward of $40,000 a year. Just as television executives cannot assume that people are watching their channels and approving of what they put on the air, the powers-that-be in higher education cannot afford to be less than responsive to the reactions of their fussy postadolescent clientele.
So you have course evaluations. (NYT Magazine)
Related post: Socrates’ class evaluation