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.
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