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Evaluating students' evaluations of professors

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Author Info

  • Michela Braga

    ()
    (University of Milan)

  • Marco Paccagnella

    ()
    (Bank of Italy)

  • Michele Pellizzari

    ()
    (Bocconi University, IGIER and IZA)

Abstract

This paper contrasts measures of teacher effectiveness with the students’ evaluations of the same teachers using administrative data from Bocconi University (Italy). The effectiveness measures are estimated by comparing the subsequent performance in follow-on coursework of students who are randomly assigned to teachers in each of their compulsory courses. We find that, even in a setting where the syllabuses are fixed, teachers still matter substantially. Additionally, we find that our measure of teacher effectiveness is negatively correlated with the students’ evaluations of professors: in other words, teachers who are associated with better subsequent performance receive worse evaluations from their students. We rationalize these results with a simple model where teachers can either engage in real teaching or in teaching-to-the-test, the former requiring greater student effort than the latter. Teaching-to-the-test guarantees high grades in the current course but does not improve future outcomes. Hence, if students are short-sighted and give better evaluations to teachers from whom they derive higher utility in a static framework, the model is capable of predicting our empirical finding that good teachers receive bad evaluations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 825.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_825_11

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Keywords: teacher quality; postsecondary education;

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References

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  1. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele & Woolston, William Gui, 2009. "Class Size and Class Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 4443, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. John H. Tyler & Eric S. Taylor & Thomas J. Kane & Amy L. Wooten, 2010. "Using Student Performance Data to Identify Effective Classroom Practices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 256-60, May.
  3. Chetty, Raj & Friedman, John Norton & Hilger, Nathanial & Saez, Emmanuel & Schanzenbach, Dianne Whitmore & Yagan, Danny, 2011. "How Does Your Kindergarten Classroom Affect Your Earnings? Evidence from Project Star," Scholarly Articles 9639983, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  4. Barrington-Leigh, Christopher P, 2008. "Weather as a transient influence on survey-reported satisfaction with life," MPRA Paper 25736, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, 06.
  6. Jesse Rothstein, 2009. "Student Sorting and Bias in Value-Added Estimation: Selection on Observables and Unobservables," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 4(4), pages 537-571, October.
  7. Giacomo De Giorgi & Michele Pellizzari & Silvia Redaelli, 2010. "Identification of Social Interactions through Partially Overlapping Peer Groups," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 241-75, April.
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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Students hate good teachers
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-05-12 14:22:00
  2. Bra men impopulära föreläsare
    by Niclas Berggren in Nonicoclolasos on 2011-05-28 03:05:49
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Braga, Michela & Paccagnella, Marco & Pellizzari, Michele, 2014. "The Academic and Labor Market Returns of University Professors," IZA Discussion Papers 7902, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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