Psychology of Judging: How Students Are Evaluated

The evaluation of students could be interpreted as a symbol of the uneasy relationships between the undergraduates and the professors. The student ratings often become a site of anxiety and a bitter contest between the tutors and students, as well as within the group. The acting social forces are strong enough. They are the demand for the higher education and the accountability in it, and even the use of ratings in the curriculum and personnel decisions that students have to make. Those factors make the debates around the way the students are evaluated. Searching for the validity, one should take into account the structures authority that influence both sides: the students and the tutors.

Surely, the researches that try to describe the ratings of students mostly concern with the problems of reliability and validity of the evaluation tools. Some of the studies confirm that the students ratings often have strong bonds with the relationships between the faculty and the students, as well as the place of the education within modern society.

The moment when the students’ evaluation appears under a critical lens is surely the message of authority. The interesting psychological fact is that the question of gender influence on the students’ ratings. The studies report that the female professors have to face the so-called “chilly climate” among their male colleges and in the classrooms. The researches suggest that the students hold unrealistic expectations about the female tutors. Why is it so? The reason is that a woman has defined social status because of the gender that dictates that occupying a role of a professor is quite unnatural. Thus, the students may hold the expectations that appear to be unrealistic. Women do not receive the adequate feedback as the tutors since the students judge them by the gender performance first, and then by their teaching skills. This factor leaves no place for the students’ personnel decisions, since the subtext of gender makes certain challenges that make the students state a question about the authority and the ability to find the best access to the educational process and to their self-evaluation.

So, is it fair to say that the evaluation of students determines the level of their intelligence? There are so many factors that influence the degree of justice in this issue. The main detail here is the degree of a critical approach of a student to himself as a person. It seems that a huge number of factors, such as gender and social status, unfairly influence not only on the height of the estimates and quality of the acquired material, but rather on the ability of the student to determine the level of their abilities.
A psychological approach to the issue tries to define if the ratings motivate students to learn and try hard, or vice versa break their personality? It is really hard to say since every case is rather individual. If we imagine that the ratings would be absent in the educational system, there could be as many questions as well. Thus, it is important to identify the main purpose of the evaluations students get. One should receive education at the highest level and not to feel the infringement, therefore if the evaluations build the walls between the students and the tutors, as well as the students and themselves. Basing on the researches on this topic, we can conclude that the students are evaluated not only by their skills and knowledge, but many factors are considered. Thus, the evaluations have both positive and negative effects.