Why do the average ratings for global items (“rate the instructor,” “rate the course”) sometimes differ from average ratings for other items on the rating form?

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Why do the average ratings for global items (“rate the instructor,” “rate the course”) sometimes differ from average ratings for other items on the rating form?

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Differences in global ratings and an average of individual item ratings on the form occur for a number of reasons: • The global items on student rating forms are intended to be normative (i.e., “compared to other courses you have taken”). The specific items are less normative in that they focus on specific aspects of a course or actions of an instructor. Therefore, the global and specific items are asking for two different types of ratings. • Even though the number of points are the same on the global and specific item rating scales, these points are labeled differently. A Likert scale asking for agreement or disagreement to a given statement (on individual items) is not the same as rating a course or instructor as good or poor (on global items). • The individual items on the student rating form are a sampling of important areas of teaching; it is impossible to include all important areas of teaching on a short student rating form. When students provide an overall course or instructor

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