OPINION | Checks and balances: why students should be able to grade their teachers

When course evaluations come around at the end of the semester, some students use them to provide constructive feedback about their teachers. A system where the teacher receives a grade at the end of the course would allow students to express their grievances or appreciation for each teacher. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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As finals approach, we will be graded on our work from the entire semester. It’s time we implement a grading system for our instructors.

We’ve all had teachers who didn’t communicate well or seemed to grade unfairly. What if we could have graded them based on their course, the homework, their attitude or their behavior and how they ran their class?

As students at Utah Tech University, we already have some power to grade the courses in a basic way, with the annual course feedback that is sent toward the end of the semester. But this does not allow us to really grade our teacher. We can rate their communication and how the course was, but what if we could give our teachers a letter grade and notes on their performance? 

This would be beneficial for instructors and the management of the schools. It would provide first-hand experiences from students that could help teachers better their environment, coursework and overall attitude with the class.

It would also be good for the students. They could use this to expose a teacher who refuses to be fair or communicate with their students. Obviously, there could be students who wouldn’t take it seriously or would grade the instructor poorly out of retaliation for their own bad grade. There is no set way to ensure students won’t do this, but if guidelines are set, it can help the data be more accurate.

But the power to grade teachers would be beneficial for everyone. It wouldn’t be used as a tool for harm or to be used when we don’t like the coursework or the teacher. It would be used for constructive criticism so the course can be better and beneficial for the students.

It would be a great option to not only help students but also the instructors and school to make necessary improvements or changes as needed to a course.

I know if I had the power to grade my teachers, I would use it fairly. I wouldn’t want to make a teacher’s life harder. They already have a hard enough job.

In high school, I had the opportunity to take college courses. In one of the courses, I had an instructor give me a low grade on an assignment because she did not agree with my point of view on an essay.

It was not because I did badly on the assignment, but rather, it was based on my personal viewpoint of the topic that she did not respect. A difference of opinion should not dictate a grade; we all have different views and opinions.

With this experience, I would have loved to be able to grade her and expose the way she graded in a biased way. I would have graded her on content, workload, communication, feedback, bias, attitude in class and overall fairness.

These aren’t the only areas you could grade a teacher on. Grading could also be done on their class environment, content knowledge, student development and more.

Universities and colleges need to incorporate a more intense grading system. The end-of-the-year survey is not sufficient. But, there would need to be guidelines and pre-determined questions to go along with the survey. This would ensure fairness and the quality of the grade.

As college students, we pay for our schooling and classes, so we should be involved in the feedback on the instructors as a whole. Not just a quick survey.

Both students and teachers need to be held accountable for their performance. Having a grading system would be a great checks and balances system for teachers.