Whose Opinion Is It Anyway? Determinants of Participation in Student Evaluation of Teaching
Using data that identify the respondents to student evaluation of teaching (SET), the author finds that respondents and nonrespondents are different along several characteristics. Students respond more if they are first-term freshmen, or if the course is a major requirement. Men, students with light course loads, and students with low cumulative grade point average or low course grade are less likely to evaluate the course and the instructor. A matched-pairs test that effectively eliminates class- and instructor-invariant student characteristics confirms that students who do better in a course are more likely to participate in SET. In addition, students who are more likely to have strong opinions, identified by early participation, hold, on average, positive views toward the course. These results do not support the idea that SET attracts disproportionally more unhappy students. Given the widely documented positive correlation between grades and ratings, these findings suggest that SET ratings can be biased upward.
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Volume (Year): 42 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
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