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Methods for Evaluating Educational Programs – Does Writing Center Participation Affect Student Achievement?

  • Julia Bredtmann

    ()

  • Carsten J. Crede
  • Sebastian Otten

This paper evaluates the eff ectiveness of the introduction of a Writing Center at a university. The center has the purpose to provide subject-specifi c courses that aim to improve students‘ abilities of scientifi c writing. In order to deal with presumed selfperceptional biases of students in feedback surveys, we use diff erent quantitative evaluation methods and compare the results to corresponding qualitative student surveys. Based on this evaluation, we present and discuss the validity of the approaches to evaluate educational programs. Although almost all students reported the writing courses to be helpful, we fi nd no signifi cant eff ect of course participation on students‘ grades. We attribute the diff erence in the results between quantitative methods and qualitative surveys to the inappropriateness of student course evaluations for assessing the eff ectiveness of educational measures.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0275.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0275
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  1. 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, 06.
  2. Eric A. Hanushek & Ludger Wößmann, 2005. "Does Education Tracking Affect Performance and Inequality? Differences-In-Differences Evidence Across Countries," Discussion Papers 04-026, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. Martin Schlotter & Guido Schwerdt & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Econometric Methods for Causal Evaluation of Education Policies and Practices: A Non-Technical Guide," CESifo Working Paper Series 2877, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Charles Ballard & Marianne Johnson, 2005. "Gender, Expectations, And Grades In Introductory Microeconomics At A Us University," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(1), pages 95-122.
  5. Michael A McPherson & R Todd Jewell & Myungsup Kim, 2009. "What Determines Student Evaluation Scores? A Random Effects Analysis of Undergraduate Economics Classes," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(1), pages 37-51.
  6. Costas Meghir & Mårten Palme, 2005. "Educational Reform, Ability, and Family Background," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 414-424, March.
  7. M. Davies & J. Hirschberg & J. Lye & C. Johnston & I. McDonald, 2005. "Systematic Influences on Teaching Evaluations : The Case for Caution," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 953, The University of Melbourne.
  8. Susan M. Dynarski, 2003. "Does Aid Matter? Measuring the Effect of Student Aid on College Attendance and Completion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 279-288, March.
  9. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2001. "Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232197, June.
  10. Brian A. Jacob & Lars Lefgren & David P. Sims, 2010. "The Persistence of Teacher-Induced Learning," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 915-943.
  11. Gregory A. Krohn & Catherine M. O'Connor, 2005. "Student Effort and Performance over the Semester," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 3-28, January.
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