Instructor characteristics and students’ evaluation of teaching effectiveness: evidence from an Italian engineering school


This study examines the relationship between students' evaluation of teaching effectiveness and the instructor's characteristics, based upon an original data set from an Italian university. Age and seniority (academic rank) are both found to affect negatively teaching evaluation, although the effect of rank depends heavily on the discipline. Profession-oriented disciplines are more poorly evaluated and exhibit stronger effects for rank; in the same disciplines, many courses are taught by non-faculty members, who are evaluated poorly. Gender is also found to be relevant, as it affects students' evaluation of female instructors, although this result might be biased by the gender composition of classes. Past research outputs, as measured by an instructor's publication track record, has a positive impact on students' evaluation of teaching effectiveness, although the rate of impact decreases with the amount of publications.


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