Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Teaching: ‘Punish[ing] Those Who Fail To Do Their Gender Right’

Sophie Adams, Sheree Bekker, Yanan Fan, Tess Gordon, Laura J. Shepherd, Eve Slavich, David Waters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (SciVal)


A significant body of work problematises the assumption that student evaluations of teaching (SET) actually measure teaching quality. This is concerning, given that SET are increasingly relied upon not only to evaluate candidates for employment (so job acquisition is influenced by flawed data) but also to inform performance metrics for those in employment (so job security is influenced by flawed data). This paper presents qualitative research conducted at a large public university in Australia. The findings suggest that student evaluations of teaching seem to measure conformity with gendered expectations rather than teaching quality, with particularly negative effects for women. The integration of SET into performance management practices within institutions of higher education could be entrenching inequalities amongst university staff that could ultimately disadvantage female academics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-807
Number of pages21
JournalHigher Education
Issue number4
Early online date16 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, UNSW. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Evaluation
  • Gender
  • Performance
  • Quality
  • Teaching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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