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What Determines Student Evaluation Scores? A Random Effects Analysis of Undergraduate Economics Classes


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  • Michael A McPherson

    (Department of Economics, University of North Texas, PO Box 311457, Denton, TX 76203-1457, USA)

  • R Todd Jewell

    (Department of Economics, University of North Texas, PO Box 311457, Denton, TX 76203-1457, USA)

  • Myungsup Kim

    (Department of Economics, University of North Texas, PO Box 311457, Denton, TX 76203-1457, USA)

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    Student evaluation scores are a standard component of the way colleges and universities assess the quality of an instructor's teaching for purposes of promotion and tenure, as well as merit raise allocations. This paper applies a feasible generalized least squares model to a panel of data from undergraduate economics classes. We find that instructors can “buy” better evaluation scores by inflating students’ grade expectations. Class size and instructor experience are important determinants of evaluation scores in principles classes, but not in upper-level courses. Male instructors get better scores than females, and younger instructors are more popular than older ones. Certain other factors are also important determinants of evaluation scores. Our results suggest that an adjustment to the usual departmental rankings may be useful. Eastern Economic Journal (2009) 35, 37–51. doi:10.1057/palgrave.eej.9050042

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Palgrave Macmillan in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 35 (2009 Winter)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 37-51

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    Handle: RePEc:pal:easeco:v:35:y:2009:i:1:p:37-51

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    Postal: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Subscription Department, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, UK

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    Cited by:
    1. Bredtmann, Julia & Crede, Carsten J. & Otten, Sebastian, 2013. "Methods for evaluating educational programs: Does Writing Center Participation affect student achievement?," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 115-123.
    2. Lütkenhöner, Laura, 2013. "Können sich Hochschuldozenten bessere studentische Lehrevaluationen "erkaufen"?," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics 7/2013, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.


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