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Evaluating Methods for Evaluating Instruction: The Case of Higher Education

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

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w12844.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12844.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
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Publication status: published as Weinberg, Bruce A., Belton M. Fleisher and Masanori Hashimoto. “Evaluating Teaching in Higher Education.” Journal of Economic Education 40 (No. 3, 2009): 227-261.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12844
Note: ED LS
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  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," The Journal of Economics, 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 236-41, May.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 336-40, May.
  12. 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 347-51, May.
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