Research in Higher Education

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 45–116

Class size and college students' evaluations of teachers and courses: A closer look

  • Kenneth A. Feldman
Article

DOI: 10.1007/BF00975035

Cite this article as:
Feldman, K.A. Res High Educ (1984) 21: 45. doi:10.1007/BF00975035

Abstract

A systematic analysis of extant studies reveals, on average, a very weak inverse association between the size of class enrollment in a college course and students' overall evaluation of the course and its teacher, as well as between class size and evaluations of specific instructional dimensions pertaining to the instructor's skill in presenting material and communicating information. Larger inverse associations are typically found between class size and evaluations of specific instructional dimensions pertaining to the instructor's interactions and interrelationships with students. This pattern of findings is consistent with the accumulating evidence that the instructional dimensions of the first set have greater importance for students in forming their global opinions of teachers and courses than do those of the second set. The further finding in some studies of a negative curvilinear (roughly U-shaped) relationship between class size and evaluations is noted and discussed. Implications for the validity of teacher evaluations are considered and the related question of whether class size “biases” these evaluations is explored.

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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth A. Feldman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New York at Stony BrookUSA

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