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Management by results: Student evaluation of faculty teaching and the mis-measurement of performance

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  • Langbein, Laura
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    Abstract

    Using data on 4 years of courses at American University, regression results show that actual grades have a significant, positive effect on student evaluations of teaching (SETs), controlling for expected grade and fixed effects for both faculty and courses, and for possible endogeneity. Implications are that the SET is a faulty measure of teaching quality and grades a faulty signal of future job performance. Students, faculty, and provost appear to be engaged in an individually rational but socially destructive game of grade inflation centered on the link between SETs and grades. When performance is hard to measure, pay-for-performance, embodied by the link between SETs and faculty pay, may have unintended adverse consequences.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VB9-4P0086S-1/1/17726c466911071a01cb56143ef83a5e
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 4 (August)
    Pages: 417-428

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:417-428

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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    References

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    1. Kreps, David M, 1997. "Intrinsic Motivation and Extrinsic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 359-64, May.
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    7. Mark Thornton, 2004. "Does Academic Publishing Pass the Real Market Test?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 120(1_2), pages 41-61, 07.
    8. Baker, George P, 1992. "Incentive Contracts and Performance Measurement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 598-614, June.
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    10. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    11. Ethel B. Jones & John D. Jackson, 1990. "College Grades and Labor Market Rewards," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 25(2), pages 253-266.
    12. Sproule, Robert, 2002. "The underdetermination of instructor performance by data from the student evaluation of teaching," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 287-294, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ewing, Andrew M., 2012. "Estimating the impact of relative expected grade on student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 141-154.
    2. Beleche, Trinidad & Fairris, David & Marks, Mindy, 2012. "Do course evaluations truly reflect student learning? Evidence from an objectively graded post-test," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 709-719.
    3. Rogge, Nicky, 2009. "Granting teachers the 'benefit of the doubt' in performance evaluations," Working Papers 2009/17, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
    4. Mary R Hedges & Don Webber, 2012. "Using student evaluations to improve individual and department teaching qualities," Working Papers 20121205, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.

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