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Evaluating Methods for Evaluating Instruction: The Case of Higher Education

Author

Listed:
  • Bruce A. Weinberg
  • Belton M. Fleisher
  • Masanori Hashimoto

Abstract

This paper develops an original measure of learning in higher education, based on grades in subsequent courses. Using this measure of learning, this paper shows that student evaluations are positively related to current grades but unrelated to learning once current grades are controlled. It offers evidence that the weak relationship between learning and student evaluations arises, in part, because students are unaware of how much they have learned in a course. The paper concludes with a discussion of easily-implemented, optimal methods for evaluating teaching.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Weinberg & Belton M. Fleisher & Masanori Hashimoto, 2007. "Evaluating Methods for Evaluating Instruction: The Case of Higher Education," NBER Working Papers 12844, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12844
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12844.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Watts, Michael & Bosshardt, William, 1991. "How Instructors Make a Difference: Panel Data Estimates from Principles of Economic Courses," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 336-340, May.
    2. Paul W. Grimes & Meghan J. Millea & Thomas W. Woodruff, 2004. "Grades—Who's to Blame? Student Evaluation of Teaching and Locus of Control," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(2), pages 129-147, April.
    3. Florian Hoffmann & Philip Oreopoulos, 2009. "Professor Qualities and Student Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 83-92, February.
    4. Krautmann, Anthony C. & Sander, William, 1999. "Grades and student evaluations of teachers," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 59-63, February.
    5. Eric Bettinger & Bridget Terry Long, 2004. "Do College Instructors Matter? The Effects of Adjuncts and Graduate Assistants on Students' Interests and Success," NBER Working Papers 10370, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. L. F. Jameson Boex, 2000. "Attributes of Effective Economics Instructors: An Analysis of Student Evaluations," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(3), pages 211-227, September.
    7. D. F. Sheets & E. E. Topping, 2000. "Assessing the Quality of Instruction In University Economics Courses: Attrition as a Source of Self-Selection Bias in Mean Test Scores," Journal of Economic Insight (formerly the Journal of Economics (MVEA)), Missouri Valley Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 11-21.
    8. Watts, Michael & Lynch, Gerald J, 1989. "The Principles Courses Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 236-241, May.
    9. William E. Becker & William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2012. "How Departments of Economics Evaluate Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 325-333, July.
    10. 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.
    11. William Bosshardt & Michael Watts, 2001. "Comparing Student and Instructor Evaluations of Teaching," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(1), pages 3-17, January.
    12. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 2004. "Prospects in the Academic Labor Market for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 227-238, Spring.
    13. Bedard, Kelly & Kuhn, Peter, 2008. "Where class size really matters: Class size and student ratings of instructor effectiveness," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 253-265, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Philip Babcock, 2010. "Real Costs Of Nominal Grade Inflation? New Evidence From Student Course Evaluations," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 983-996, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • I2 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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