64 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2012
Date Written: October 14, 2011
This paper contrasts measures of teacher effectiveness with the students’ evaluations of the same teachers using administrative data from Bocconi University (Italy). The effectiveness measures are estimated by comparing the subsequent performance in follow-on coursework of students who are randomly assigned to teachers in each of their compulsory courses. We find that, even in a setting where the syllabuses are fixed, teachers still matter substantially. Additionally, we find that our measure of teacher effectiveness is negatively correlated with the students’ evaluations of professors: in other words, teachers who are associated with better subsequent performance receive worse evaluations from their students. We rationalize these results with a simple model where teachers can either engage in real teaching or in teaching-to-the-test, the former requiring greater student effort than the latter. Teaching-to-the-test guarantees high grades in the current course but does not improve future outcomes. Hence, if students are short-sighted and give better evaluations to teachers from whom they derive higher utility in a static framework, the model is capable of predicting our empirical finding that good teachers receive bad evaluations.
Keywords: teacher quality, postsecondary education
JEL Classification: I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Braga, Michela and Paccagnella, Marco and Pellizzari, Michele, Evaluating Students' Evaluations of Professors (October 14, 2011). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 825. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2004361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2004361
By Brian Jacob