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Does the student evaluation of teaching instrument really measure instructors teaching effectiveness? An econometric analysis of students perceptions in economics courses

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While the student evaluation of teaching (SET) has been an intensely researched area in higher education there has been little research using the individual student responses on their perceptions of instructors’ effectiveness (TEVAL) score. This research delivers a methodological breakthrough as it fills this gap by employing individual student responses from an elite Australian university and partial proportional odds model to investigate the influence of students’ perceptions of instructional attributes included in the SET instrument and other variables on TEVAL score. The findings indicate presentation and explanation of materials, and organization of classes were key determinants of TEVAL scores. Emphasis on thinking rather than memorising was less influential. Intermediate level courses and non-English speaking background instructors received lower TEVAL scores. Elective courses and instructors below associate professor attracted higher ratings. The SET instrument currently used fails to provide a valid measure teaching quality as it does little to measure the extent of students’ actual learning. This paper underscores the need for inclusion of variables typifying diversity of the student population such as academic performance, discipline destination, ethno-linguistic background, age, sex, indicators of students’ effort. It raises broader implications such as subscales, inclusion of items on course contents, intellectual challenge, real world applications, and problem-solving skills.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series Discussion Papers Series with number 516.

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Date of creation: 07 May 2014
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Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:516

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