Students' Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness: What Surveys Tell and What They Do Not Tell

Employing student evaluation of teaching (SET) data on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate economics courses, this paper uses ordered probit analysis to (i) investigate how student’s perceptions of ‘teaching quality’ (TEVAL) are influenced by their perceptions of their instructor’s attributes relating including presentation and explanation of lecture material, and organization of the instruction process; (ii) identify differences in the sensitivity of perceived teaching quality scores to variations in the independent variables; (iii) investigate whether systematic differences in TEVAL scores occur for different levels of courses; and (iv) examine whether the SET data can provide a useful measure of teaching quality. It reveals that student’s perceptions of instructor’s improvement in organization, presentation and explanation, impact positively on students’ perceptions of teaching effectiveness. The converse appears to hold. The impacts of these factors vary between postgraduate and undergraduate programs as well as between levels within the undergraduate program. The pragmatic implications of SET procedures are discussed. It is argued that while they are simple to apply, there are dangers of using them to judge the quality of teaching. From a practical point of view, they are a poor indicator of teaching performance and in themselves provide no guidance to lecturers as to how to improve their teaching performance.

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Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
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ISSN: 1444-8890 (Other)
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JEL Codes:
A2; I2
Series Statement:
Economic Theory, Applications and Issues Working Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2020-10-28

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