Institutional Student evaluation of teaching (SET) in post-compulsory education is both a controversial and essential performance management practice in theory and in practice. This paper will initially review the literature on SET and summarize the theoretical and practice-related controversy. I will then consider the notion of whether response rate in SET surveys is considered a problem of bias or an argument contributing to its validity. I will further explore the reasons responsible for the decrease in response rates in electronic SETs with a special focus on the concerns that faculty have against it. The study explores the effect of response rate on the student evaluation of teaching (SET) in first year English language programmes in a tertiary setting in Oman. Statistical analysis in the form of regression analysis is used to answer the research questions relating to the factors that predict response rate and influence SET global scores, and further test the posed hypotheses pertaining to the differences in response rate between major and non-major courses and degree and non-degree courses in a first year English language programme at a university setting. The study utilizes a dataset record of 2000 student ratings obtained from SET surveys from the period of Fall 2011 through to Spring 2014. In order to study the interactional effects between the factors, the analysis utilizes a six-variable structure comprising of three independent variables (i.e. class size, course type & instructor gender), two dependent variables (i.e. total teaching aggregate score mean & instructor global score mean) and one independent and dependent variable (i.e. percent participation levels). I will end with a description of the ‘top 20 strategies’ to enhance response rate in electronic SET based on the framework proposed by Berk (2012). I will finally focus on one major strategy that is not included in Berk’s framework, but is one that can contribute to the original formative function of SET, which is the development of the practice of teaching at the individual and departmental levels. I argue that a stakeholder approach to the administration and management of SET is the most promising means to encourage balanced student populations to participate in institutional SETs.
Keywords: (higher) education, Oman, response rate, stakeholder administration, student evaluation of teaching, SET