Research in Higher Education

, Volume 44, Issue 5, pp 495–518 | Cite as

Will Teachers Receive Higher Student Evaluations by Giving Higher Grades and Less Course Work?

  • John A. Centra


This study investigated whether mean expected grades and the level of difficult/workload in courses, as reported by students, unduly influence student ratings instruction. Over 50,000 college courses whose teachers used the Student Instructional Report II were analyzed. In addition to the two primary independent variables, the regression analyses included 8 subject area groupings and controlled for such factors as class size, teaching method, and student perceived learning outcomes in the course. Learning outcomes had a large positive effect on student evaluations of instructions, as it should. After controlling for learning outcomes, expected grades generally did not affect student evaluations. In fact, contrary to what some faculty think, courses in natural sciences with expected grades of A were rated lower, not higher. Courses were rated lower when they were rated as either difficult or too elementary. Courses rated at the “just right” level received the highest evaluations.

student evaluations college course ratings expected grades course difficulty 


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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

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  • John A. Centra

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