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Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education


  • Bruce A. Weinberg
  • Masanori Hashimoto
  • Belton M. Fleisher


The authors develop an original measure of learning in higher education, based on grades in subsequent courses. Using this measure of learning, they show that student evaluations are positively related to current grades but unrelated to learning once current grades are controlled. They offer evidence that the weak relationship between learning and student evaluations arises, in part, because students are unaware of how much they have learned in a course. They conclude with a discussion of easily implemented, optimal methods for evaluating teaching.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Weinberg & Masanori Hashimoto & Belton M. Fleisher, 2009. "Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 227-261, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:40:y:2009:i:3:p:227-261
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.40.3.227-261

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    Cited by:

    1. Pettersson, Nicklas & Karlsson, Niklas & Andrén, Daniela, 2023. "Does eligibility requirements matter for academic achievements? A quasi-experimental retrospective study of students studying intermediate statistics," Working Papers 2023:1, Örebro University, School of Business.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Chandini Sankaran & Tamara Sheldon, 2022. "Counting Cars: A Sustainable Development Experiential Learning Project," Journal of Economics Teaching, Journal of Economics Teaching, vol. 7(1), pages 18-34, January.
    5. 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.
    6. Cannon, Edmund & Cipriani, Giam Pietro, 2021. "Gender Differences in Student Evaluations of Teaching: Identification and Consequences," IZA Discussion Papers 14387, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. James F. Ragan & Bhavneet Walia, 2010. "Differences in Student Evaluations of Principles and Other Economics Courses and the Allocation of Faculty across Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(4), pages 335-352, September.
    8. 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.
    9. Anna Salomons & Maarten Goos, 2014. "Measuring Teaching Quality in Higher Education: Assessing the Problem of Selection Bias in Course Evaluations," Working Papers 14-16, Utrecht School of Economics.
    10. Gorry, Devon, 2017. "The impact of grade ceilings on student grades and course evaluations: Evidence from a policy change," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 133-140.
    11. Stephen B. DeLoach, 2011. "What Every Economist Should Know About the Evaluation of Teaching: A Review of the Literature," Chapters, in: Gail M. Hoyt & KimMarie McGoldrick (ed.), International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics, chapter 34, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Braga, Michela & Paccagnella, Marco & Pellizzari, Michele, 2014. "Evaluating students’ evaluations of professors," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 71-88.
    13. Pearce, John A., 2017. "How employers can stanch the hemorrhaging of collegiate GPA credibility," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 35-43.
    14. Ale J. Hejase & Hussin J. Hejase & Rana S. Al Kaakour, 2014. "The Impact of Students’ Characteristics on their Perceptions of the Evaluation of Teaching Process," International Journal of Management Sciences, Research Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 4(2), pages 90-105.
    15. Jang C. Jin, 2019. "Student Evaluation of Teaching in Higher Education: Evidence from Hong Kong," International Journal of Higher Education, Sciedu Press, vol. 8(5), pages 1-95, October.
    16. Martin Flegl & Robert Hlavatý, 2022. "Understanding transitions in professors’ evaluation: the application of Markov chain," OPSEARCH, Springer;Operational Research Society of India, vol. 59(1), pages 304-323, March.
    17. Shao-Hsun Keng, 2018. "Tenure system and its impact on grading leniency, teaching effectiveness and student effort," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 1207-1227, November.
    18. Hall, Thomas W. & Pierce, Bethane Jo & Tunnell, P. Larry & Walther, Larry M., 2014. "Heterogeneous student perceptions of accounting course importance and their implications for SET reporting and use," Journal of Accounting Education, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 1-15.
    19. William E. Becker & Suzanne R. Becker, 2011. "Potpourri: Reflections from Husband/Wife Academic Editors," The American Economist, Sage Publications, vol. 56(2), pages 74-84, November.
    20. 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.
    21. Rodríguez, Rosa & Rubio, Gonzalo, 2016. "Teaching quality and academic research," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 10-27.
    22. Maarten Goos & Anna Salomons, 2017. "Measuring teaching quality in higher education: assessing selection bias in course evaluations," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(4), pages 341-364, June.
    23. 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.
    24. Samuel Natale & Caroline Doran, 2012. "Marketization of Education: An Ethical Dilemma," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 105(2), pages 187-196, January.

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