Understanding academics’ resistance towards (online) student evaluation

Rienties, Bart (2014). Understanding academics’ resistance towards (online) student evaluation. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(8) pp. 987–1001.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2014.880777


Many higher educational institutions and academic staff are still sceptical about the validity and reliability of student evaluation questionnaires, in particular when these evaluations are completed online. One month after a university-wide implementation from paper to online evaluation across 629 modules, (perceived) resistance and ambivalence amongst academic staff were unpacked. A mixed-method study was conducted amongst 104 academics using survey methods and follow-up semi-structured interviews. Despite a successful ‘technical’ transition (i.e. response rate of 60%, similar scores to previous evaluations), more than half of respondents reported a negative experience with this transition. The results indicate that the multidimensional nature of ambivalence towards change and the dual nature of student evaluations can influence the effectiveness of organisational transition processes.

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