Should teachers be graded just as students?


Having teachers evaluated by the students would give the high school administration an idea of how the students feel about their teachers. Photo illustration by Clare Jones

Most high school students work hard to get good grades so they can be accepted into the college of their choice. As a result, many high school students get very nervous waiting for their teachers to give them their grades on tests, papers, projects or oral presentations. But why shouldn’t teachers be graded too?

Schools should make it mandatory that high school students evaluate their teachers. Typically, teachers are evaluated by administrators or department chairs,  and this method limits the perspective by which the teachers are being viewed. Teachers being reviewed by students is beneficial for many reasons.

First of all, having teachers evaluated by the students would give the high school administration an idea of how the students feel about their teachers. Teachers would have to be accountable to students. This accountability would likely encourage teachers to create interesting lesson plans to attract and keep students interested in their class. In addition, knowing which lessons are liked by students helps teachers create a learning environment that is fun, consequently allowing students to fully understand the lessons and leading to grades improving. The school would have an opportunity to see the teachers who need help with their lessons and offer support and solutions to underperforming teachers.

Second, students should be able to select teachers who match their learning style when there is information on the teacher’s approach to instruction. For example, some teachers may use hands-on learning examples, some may use more virtual learning tools and some may be a very entertaining lecturer, all examples of different ways students can learn. Students should be able to critique not only the method of teaching but also the books that are selected as part of the curriculum. When students are able to influence the class lesson plan, they are more likely to be more involved in the class, which will lead to better grades.

Finally, when teachers are evaluated by students, schools will be able to promote effective teachers who respond to student preferences and help teachers who are not good at getting students interested in the lessons. The ability to identify teachers who are interesting to the students and teachers who are not, would result in improving the quality of teachers in the school overall. This practice would lead to students achieving better grades because the evaluations would provide feedback that would allow teachers to improve in areas that are not interesting to the students and reinforce the lesson plans that achieve high ratings.

In the end, having interesting lesson plans provides better opportunities in the classroom for students to learn and succeed. When students take part in evaluating teachers, it creates a learning environment where students feel their opinions matter and they are having an impact on their learning. As a result, more students would be more motivated to understand their school work and be successful in their classes. Teacher evaluations may increase the student’s odds of getting into her college of choice as learning becomes interesting and fun.