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Methods for evaluating educational programs: Does Writing Center Participation affect student achievement?

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  • Bredtmann, Julia
  • Crede, Carsten J.
  • Otten, Sebastian

Abstract

This paper evaluates the effectiveness of the introduction of a Writing Center at a university, which aims at improving students’ scientific writing abilities. In order to deal with the presumed limited utility of student feedback surveys for evaluating the effectiveness of educational programs, we use students’ actual learning outcomes as our quality measure. Based on this objective measure, different statistical evaluation methods established in the labor market treatment literature are applied. We present and discuss the validity of these methods to evaluate educational programs and compare the results of these approaches to implications obtained using corresponding student surveys. Although almost all students reported the writing courses to be helpful, we find no significant effect of course participation on students’ grades. This result highlights the need for institutions not to rely solely on student course evaluations for evidence-based policy decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Bredtmann, Julia & Crede, Carsten J. & Otten, Sebastian, 2013. "Methods for evaluating educational programs: Does Writing Center Participation affect student achievement?," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 115-123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:36:y:2013:i:1:p:115-123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2012.09.003
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Educational programs; Student evaluation; Empirical methods; Writing Center; Student self-perception; Institutional assessment; Evidence-based policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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