Why Bother to Participate? What Influences Student Motivation to Participate in Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET)?
When response rates on student evaluation of teaching (SET) are low, the results cannot be interpreted as reliable and therefore not be used as intended. The low response rates, followed by departments inability to properly interpret responses from the students who do participate is a big problem. Where does the motivation to participate break down, and where and how does it make sense for the university to invest efforts in rectifying that? In this study, we examined the motivation and tendencies to participate in SET on 641 students at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Our investigation focused on: (a) how much time students are willing to spend on SET, (b) at which point in time some students decides to drop out, (c) the relationship between student motivation and participation, and (d) the factors that student themselves say influence their motivation to participate. We created a questionnaire, Tromsø Participation Motivation Scale (TPMS), based on previous research on SET participation, principles from Self-Determination Theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985), and student input from two focus groups. Results indicate that students who seldom or never participate in SET have an initial lack of motivation to participate at all, and the majority do not even open the evaluation before deciding to not complete it. They also report lower levels of willingness to participate, autonomy, competence, engagement in others’ participation, meaningfulness, personal value, and value for others than those who always participate. Based on these findings, a research-based strategy is proposed to increase future SET response rates. Keywords: course evaluation, higher education, SDT, self-determination, teaching effectiveness
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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