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Title: Spain is not different: teaching quantitative courses can also be hazardous to one’s career (at least in undergraduate courses)
Authors: Arroyo Barrigüete, José Luis
Obregón García, Antonio Sergio
Ortiz Lozano, José María
Rúa Vieites, Antonio
Issue Date: 31-May-2022
Abstract: -
Student evaluations of teaching (SETs) have become a widely used tool for assessing teaching in higher education. However, numerous investigations have shown that SETs are subject to multiple biases, one of which is particularly relevant, namely, the area of knowledge to which the subject belongs. This paper aims to replicate the paper by Uttl & Smibert (2017, in a different educational context to verify whether the negative bias toward instructors who teach quantitative courses found by the authors in the US also appears in the Spanish university system. The study was conducted at the Business and Law School of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas, a private Spanish university, using two different samples. First, we analyzed undergraduate courses using a sample of 80,667 SETs in which 2,885 classes (defined as a single semester-long course taught by an individual instructor to a specific group of students), 488 instructors, and 322 different courses were evaluated over a time period of four academic years (2016/2017–2019/2020). Second, in the same period, 16,083 SETs corresponding to master's degree courses were analyzed, which involved the study of 871 classes, 275 instructors, and 155 different courses. All the data included in the analysis were obtained from official university surveys developed by a team of professionals specialized in teaching quality responsible for ensuring the reliability of the information. At the degree level, the results show that despite the considerable cultural and temporal difference between the samples, the results are very similar to those obtained by Uttl & Smibert (2017,; i.e., professors teaching quantitative courses are far more likely to obtain worse SETs than instructors in other areas. There are hardly any differences at the master's degree level, regardless of whether nearly 75% of master's degree instructors also teach at the undergraduate level. This leads us to three different conclusions. (1) Evidence suggests that the reason for these differences is not due to faculty teaching quantitative courses being less effective than faculty teaching in some other fields. Our results indicate that the same instructor seems to be evaluated very differently depending on whether he or she teaches at the undergraduate or master's level. (2) It is essential to avoid comparisons of SETs between different areas of knowledge, at least at the undergraduate level. (3) A significant change in the use and interpretation of SETs is imperative, or its replacement by other evaluation mechanisms should be considered. If this does not occur, it is possible that in the future, there will be an adverse selection effect among professors of quantitative methods; i.e., only the worst professionals in quantitative methods will opt for teaching since the good professionals will prefer other jobs.
Description: Artículos en revistas
ISSN: 2167-8359
Appears in Collections:Artículos

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