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Whose Opinion Is It Anyway? Determinants of Participation in Student Evaluation of Teaching


  • Samer Kherfi


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Samer Kherfi, 2011. "Whose Opinion Is It Anyway? Determinants of Participation in Student Evaluation of Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(1), pages 19-30, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:42:y:2011:i:1:p:19-30 DOI: 10.1080/00220485.2011.536487

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Austin Nichols, 2007. "RD: Stata module for regression discontinuity estimation," Statistical Software Components S456888, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 30 Sep 2016.
    2. Ann L. Owen & Elizabeth J. Jensen, 2000. "Why Are Women Such Reluctant Economists? Evidence from Liberal Arts Colleges," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 466-470, May.
    3. Imbens, Guido W. & Lemieux, Thomas, 2008. "Regression discontinuity designs: A guide to practice," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 615-635, February.
    4. Karen E. Dynan & Cecilia Elena Rouse, 1997. "The Underrepresentation of Women in Economics: A Study of Undergraduate Economics Students," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 28(4), pages 350-368, December.
    5. Charles Ballard & Marianne Johnson, 2005. "Gender, Expectations, And Grades In Introductory Microeconomics At A Us University," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 95-122.
    6. Kevin N. Rask & Elizabeth M. Bailey, 2002. "Are Faculty Role Models? Evidence from Major Choice in an Undergraduate Institution," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 99-124, June.
    7. Austin Nichols, 2007. "Causal inference with observational data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 7(4), pages 507-541, December.
    8. John F. Chizmar, 2000. "A Discrete-Time Hazard Analysis of the Role of Gender in Persistence in the Economics Major," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 107-118, June.
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    1. repec:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:8:d:10.1007_s11162-017-9452-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:reihed:v:58:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11162-016-9429-8 is not listed on IDEAS

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