Two updates were made to the SET instrument during Fall 2021 to help reduce the impact of biases in SET ratings. These changes were suggested by the SET oversight committee and the approved by the provost. The American Association of Univeristy Professors (AAUP) also expressed support for these changes.
SET instructions update
The first change involves changing the instructions to the ones below:
Student evaluations of teaching play an important role in the review of faculty. Your opinions influence the review of instructors that takes place every year. Wayne State University recognizes that student evaluations of teaching may be influenced by unconscious and unintentional biases about the race and gender of the instructor. That is, women and instructors of color may be systematically rated lower in their teaching evaluations, even when there are no actual differences in the instruction or in what students have learned.
As you fill out the course evaluation please keep this in mind and make an effort to resist stereotypes about professors. Focus on your opinions about the content of the course (the assignments, the textbook, the in-class material) and not unrelated matters (the instructor's appearance).
These instructions have been shown to reduce biases in SET ratings (Peterson, Biederman, Andersen, Ditonto, & Roe, 2019).
Re-ordering comment boxes and items
The second involves changing the order of the SET's comment boxes and items. Specifically, students will fill out the comment box associated with a specific set of items before filling out the items. The hope again is that this would reduce biases in the SET items and is based on research on reducing biases in performance ratings. To be clear, this is not changing the comment boxes themselves or the items that we currently use. Furthermore, this does not change the fact that feedback put into the comment boxes will only go to the instructor as they do know.