SYSTEMATIC INFLUENCES ON TEACHING EVALUATIONS: THE CASE FOR CAUTION *
In this paper, we examine eight years of Quality of Teaching (QOT) responses from an Economics Department in an Australian University. This is done to determine what factors, besides the instructor, have an impact on the raw average student evaluation scores. Most of the previous research on student ratings has been conducted in the US. One significant difference between US and Australian tertiary education is that, on average, the number of foreign undergraduate students in Australia is ten times the number in US institutions. We find that cultural background significantly affects student evaluations. Other factors that have an influence on the average QOT score include: year level; enrolment size; the quantitative nature of the subject; the gender of the student; fee-paying status by gender; course of study; the differences between the course mark and previous marks; the quality of workbooks; the quality of textbooks; and the QOT score relative to those in other subjects taught at the same time. In addition, average QOT scores for instructors who have taught in a mix of subjects are similar to those based on scores adjusted to account for subject and student characteristics. Copyright 2007 The AuthorsJournal compilation 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/University of Adelaide and Flinders University .
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