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Differences in Student Evaluations of Principles and Other Economics Courses and the Allocation of Faculty across Courses

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  • James F. Ragan
  • Bhavneet Walia

Abstract

The authors analyze 19 semesters of student evaluations at Kansas State University. Faculty member fixed effects are sizable and indicate that among faculty members who teach both types of courses, the best principles teachers also tend to be the best nonprinciples teachers. Estimates that ignore faculty effects are biased because principles teachers are drawn from the top of the distribution and because unmeasured faculty member characteristics are correlated with such variables as the response rate. Student ratings are lowest for new faculty but stabilize quickly. Lower student interest and especially larger class size reduce student ratings and fully explain the lower evaluations of principles classes. By accounting for differences in characteristics over which the instructor has no control, departments can adjust student ratings to more accurately assess the contributions of their teachers.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:41:y:2010:i:4:p:335-352
    DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2010.510389
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