Validity and fairness of utilising student evaluation of teaching (SET) as a primary performance measure

Caryn Cook, Joanna Jones, Arwa Al-Twal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a super-saturated world of academia, the real power has slowly moved from academics’ ownership of their own means of production to a more managerial ethos, with all the accompanying control systems, surveillance, bureaucracy, performance audits and judgements that that entails. Student evaluation of teaching (SET) has become a significant evaluation tool, focusing on front-line contact and quality of teaching, allowing students to make that judgement call. This leaves out a large part of the picture of how institutions are managed and function, putting the onus on the academic and their relationship with students, teaching capability and cohort results. This leads to a sense of unfairness and poses questions about the validity and reliability of judgement calls based on student evaluation of teaching data and subsequent fairness in reward and recognition. This work considers the perceptions of Jordanian academic staff in a private institution of the use of SET as a summative tool for performance appraisal. This research has confirmed that the use of SET as a dominant, if not sole, factor in judging performance can extenuate academic stress. Thus SET results need to be used in a measured way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-184
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online date25 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021


  • Student Evaluation of Teaching
  • Jordan
  • Well-being
  • Work Life Balance


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