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The Impact of Relative Grade Expectations on Student Evaluation of Teaching

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  • Clifford Nowell

    () (Weber State University)

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Clifford Nowell, 2007. "The Impact of Relative Grade Expectations on Student Evaluation of Teaching," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 6(2), pages 42-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:che:ireepp:v:6:y:2007:i:2:p:42-56
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    File URL: http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/iree/v6n2/nowell.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
    3. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2005. "Neighbors as Negatives: Relative Earnings and Well-Being," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 963-1002.
    4. Krautmann, Anthony C. & Sander, William, 1999. "Grades and student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-63, February.
    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. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Donghun Cho & Joonmo Cho, 2017. "Does More Accurate Knowledge of Course Grade Impact Teaching Evaluation?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 12(2), pages 224-240, Spring.
    2. Joe Hirschberg & Jenny Lye, 2014. "The influence of student experiences on post-graduation surveys," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 1187, The University of Melbourne.

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