Survey-based summative course evaluations – student evaluations of teaching (SETs) – are commonly used across university and college campuses to evaluate students’ instructional experience. However, the inconsistencies across the many available versions have resulted in a lack of reliability and validity in the data and intended uses, respectively. Yet, SET results are commonly used to support high stakes decisions including faculty evaluation and even accreditation decisions. This paper advocates a re-thinking of the conceptualization, design, implementation, uses of SETs. It will discuss the process of developing a measurement tool and method for more accurate and thus valid assessment of the instructional experience.