The role of student evaluations in a PBL centred law curriculum: towards a more holistic assessment of teaching quality

Sjoerd Claessens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Students' evaluations are used to measure teaching effectiveness of staff. As such they are used to assess and appraise staff. The article - taking a doctrinal rather than an educational science approach - shows that there are considerable problems with the hypothesis that students' evaluations measure teaching effectiveness. This is even more so in systems where an overarching teaching philosophy like problem-based learning (PBL) is applied. The article identifies a working hypothesis that students do not use the teaching philosophy as primary motivator to evaluate staff, leading to a perverted incentive. Changes made to the system of evaluation in the law faculty of Maastricht University are described.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-54
Number of pages12
JournalLaw Teacher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Student
  • evaluations
  • problem-based learning (PBL)

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