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

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  • Langbein, Laura

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Langbein, Laura, 2008. "Management by results: Student evaluation of faculty teaching and the mis-measurement of performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 417-428, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:27:y:2008:i:4:p:417-428
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Cho, Donghun & Baek, Wonyoung & Cho, Joonmo, 2015. "Why do good performing students highly rate their instructors? Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 172-179.
    3. Benjamin Artz & David M. Welsch, 2013. "The Effect of Student Evaluations on Academic Success," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 8(1), pages 100-119, January.
    4. Michael O'Hara & Christopher F. Parmeter, 2013. "Nonparametric Generalized Least Squares in Applied Regression Analysis," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(4), pages 456-474, October.
    5. Rogge, Nicky, 2009. "Granting teachers the 'benefit of the doubt' in performance evaluations," Working Papers 2009/17, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
    6. Bastian Gawellek & Bernd Süssmuth & Daniel Singh, 2016. "Tuition Fees and Instructional Quality," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 36(1), pages 84-91.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9429-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Wagner, N. & Rieger, M. & Voorvelt, K.J., 2016. "Gender, ethnicity and teaching evaluations : Evidence from mixed teaching teams," ISS Working Papers - General Series 617, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    10. Rieger, Matthias & Voorvelt, Katherine, 2016. "Gender, ethnicity and teaching evaluations: Evidence from mixed teaching teamsAuthor-Name: Wagner, Natascha," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 79-94.
    11. 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.
    12. Pearce, John A., 2017. "How employers can stanch the hemorrhaging of collegiate GPA credibility," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 35-43.

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