Do course evaluations truly reflect student learning? Evidence from an objectively graded post-test
It is difficult to assess the extent to which course evaluations reflect how much students truly learn from a course because valid measures of learning are rarely available. This paper makes use of a unique setting in which students take a common, high-stakes post-test which is centrally graded and serves as the basis for capturing actual student learning. We match these student-specific measures of learning to student-specific course evaluation scores from electronic records and a rich set of student-level covariates, including a pre-test score and other measures of skills prior to entering the course. While small in magnitude, we find a robust positive, and statistically significant, association between our measure of student learning and course evaluations.
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