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What Every Economist Should Know about the Evaluation of Teaching: A Review of the Literature


  • Stephen B. DeLoach



Decades of research consistently show that student evaluations offer limited information on the effectiveness of teaching in economics. Such methods are at best valid for a relatively small set of factors that correlate with "good instruction." Even though some evidence exists that student evaluations are positively correlated with learning, it is clear that strong biases exist. Even though these limitations are well established in the literature and widely believed among faculty, the implementation of alternative or complimentary forms of assessment is notably lacking. The purpose of this paper is to review the current methods used to assess teaching. In the process, the paper proposes a research agenda for economists that aim to assess the reliability and validity of alternative processes such as peer review of teaching. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for departments of economics that are serious about enhancing both formative as well as summative assessments of teaching.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen B. DeLoach, 2010. "What Every Economist Should Know about the Evaluation of Teaching: A Review of the Literature," Working Papers 2010-02, Elon University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:elo:wpaper:2010-02

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William E. Becker, 2000. "Teaching Economics in the 21st Century," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 109-119, Winter.
    2. Bruce A. Weinberg & Masanori Hashimoto & Belton M. Fleisher, 2009. "Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(3), pages 227-261, July.
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    More about this item


    Teaching; Peer review of teaching; Student evaluation of teaching;

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics

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