Seeing how their peers evaluate their professors has long been a wish for students who want as much information as possible before choosing what lectures to take. Schools, meanwhile, differ over the benefits and drawbacks of making such evaluations public. The debate is ongoing, but a few universities already let students see course evaluations.
Dongguk University began in the 2007 fall semester, and Ajou University will follow suit in the fall of 2010. Korea University will also begin making the evaluations available to students this year.
“We decided to open up the results so students are able to evaluate professors and classes before choosing lectures,” said a Dongguk University spokesman.
A spokesperson from Korea University said opening up evaluations would also allow students to see if their assessments of professors influenced evaluation results.
However, universities like Dongguk, Ajou and Korea are still the minority. Most still conceal results or partially disclose them. Ewha is one that does not disclose any evaluations.
An Ewha spokesman said there is no specific reason for withholding the results. Whether to make them public is still under debate within the related departments.
The debate is ongoing, but a few universities already let students see professor evaluations.
“We know that other schools are disclosing evaluation results and we think positively about it. We are trying to patch up weaknesses before actually practicing it,” said Hwang Gyu-ho, the dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs.
The Ewha student government is also considering the idea.
“We are planning to suggest disclosing results if we see that there is a consensus among students since we think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages,” said Shin You-jin (Sculpture, 08), the vice president of the Student Government Association.
One student is already convinced. “I think publicizing the results are a necessity, not an option for schools. It has proven to be efficient and useful to students already,” said Won Da-young (Dongguk University, 2).
The movement toward disclosure coincides with changes in the way the JoongAng Ilbo ranks universities. The newspaper announced that, beginning this year, it will give 10 points out of 400 based on whether the assessment is disclosed or not. The Joongang Ilbo’s university rankings are regarded as prestigious in Korea.
The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology also assesses whether evaluations are disclosed or not when deciding on financial support.
“The reason behind universities disclosing the assessment seems to be the external cause of the media’s ranking of universities and the government’s implementation of policies, as well as internal regrets universities have about their decisions not to disclose up until now,” said Lho Young-ugh, head of Faculty and Academic Affairs at Silla University.