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Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors

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  • Scott E. Carrell
  • James E. West

Abstract

In primary and secondary education, measures of teacher quality are often based on contemporaneous student performance on standardized achievement tests. In the postsecondary environment, scores on student evaluations of professors are typically used to measure teaching quality. We possess unique data that allow us to measure relative student performance in mandatory follow-on classes. We compare metrics that capture these three different notions of instructional quality and present evidence that professors who excel at promoting contemporaneous student achievement teach in ways that improve their student evaluations but harm the follow-on achievement of their students in more advanced classes. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Scott E. Carrell & James E. West, 2010. "Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 409-432, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:118:y:2010:i:3:p:409-432
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    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General

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