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An economic analysis of the use of student evaluations: implications for universities

Author

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  • Kiridaran Kanagaretnam

    (Michael G.DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8S 4M4)

  • Robert Mathieu

    (School of Business and Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3C5)

  • Alex Thevaranjan

    (School of Management, Syracuse University, NY 13244 - 2130, USA)

Abstract

In this paper, we develop an analytical model of joint maximizing behavior on the part of students and professors to develop policy rules for universities who use student evaluations as tools for increasing professor effort and, thereby, student knowledge. More precisely, we examine the potential benefits of student evaluations, the consequences of over-emphasizing them and the optimal level of emphasis that should be placed on them. This exercise allows us to determine conditions under which student evaluations would result in an increase in teaching effort and student knowledge, and environments where it would result in professors manipulating grading schemes to obtain higher student ratings, i.e., grade inflation. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Kiridaran Kanagaretnam & Robert Mathieu & Alex Thevaranjan, 2003. "An economic analysis of the use of student evaluations: implications for universities," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 1-13.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:mgtdec:v:24:y:2003:i:1:p:1-13
    DOI: 10.1002/mde.1099
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Allgood, Sam, 2001. "Grade targets and teaching innovations," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 485-493, October.
    2. Siegfried, John J & Kennedy, Peter E, 1995. "Does Pedagogy Vary with Class Size in Introductory Economics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 347-351, May.
    3. Becker, William E, Jr, 1979. "Professorial Behavior Given a Stochastic Reward Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 1010-1017, December.
    4. Donald G. Freeman, 1999. "Grade Divergence as a Market Outcome," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(4), pages 344-351, December.
    5. Richard Sabot & John Wakeman-Linn, 1991. "Grade Inflation and Course Choice," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 159-170, Winter.
    6. William E. Becker & Michael Watts, 2001. "Teaching Economics at the Start of the 21st Century: Still Chalk-and-Talk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 446-451, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shao-Hsun Keng, 2016. "The Effect of a Stricter Academic Dismissal Policy on Course Selection, Student Effort, and Grading Leniency," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(2), pages 203-224, Spring.
    2. Horacio Matos-Díaz, 2014. "Measuring grade inflation and grade divergence accounting for student quality," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16, December.
    3. Wan-Ju Iris Franz, 2007. "Grade Inflation under the Threat of Students' Nuisance: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 070806, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
    4. Iris Franz, Wan-Ju, 2010. "Grade inflation under the threat of students' nuisance: Theory and evidence," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 411-422, June.
    5. Langbein, Laura, 2008. "Management by results: Student evaluation of faculty teaching and the mis-measurement of performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 417-428, August.

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