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The Impact of Relative Grade Expectations on Student Evaluation of Teaching

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  • Clifford Nowell

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    (Weber State University)

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    Abstract

    It is commonly accepted that student evaluation of teaching (SET) ratings are influenced by expected grades, and that faculty are able to 'buy' higher SET ratings by giving higher grades. Researchers have questioned whether there are limits to the ability to buy grades due to the possibility that students reward teachers for their relative grade as opposed to their absolute grade. In this paper we use SET data to investigate the relationship between SET ratings and relative grades. Similar to the prior literature, we find an indirect relationship between SET scores and historical grade performance averages (GPAs) but, we find the opposite result to be true when we examine the relationship between SET scores and expected grades earned by peers. Contrary to recent literature that suggests limits exist to an instructor's ability to purchase high SET scores when relative grades are considered, we find that the incentives to lower grading standards and buy higher SET ratings may actually be greater than has been thought in the past.

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    File URL: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/iree/v6n2/nowell.pdf
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    Article provided by Economics Network, University of Bristol in its journal International Review of Economics Education.

    Volume (Year): 6 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 42-56

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    Handle: RePEc:che:ireepp:v:6:y:2007:i:2:p:42-56

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    1. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002, August.
    2. Michael A. McPherson, 2006. "Determinants of How Students Evaluate Teachers," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(1), pages 3-20, January.
    3. Krautmann, Anthony C. & Sander, William, 1999. "Grades and student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-63, February.
    4. Ferrer-i-Carbonell, Ada, 2005. "Income and well-being: an empirical analysis of the comparison income effect," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 997-1019, June.
    5. Mason, Paul M. & Steagall, Jeffrey W. & Fabritius, Michael M., 1995. "Student evaluations of faculty: A new procedure for using aggregate measures of performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 403-416, December.
    6. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
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