Working Papers

Working papers created and collaborated on by Budget, Planning and Institutional Research staff. Click here for scholarly Research Briefs

1. Measuring Teaching Effectiveness using SETs

Lloyd A. Blanchard & Yizhi Zhu, June 2019.

Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) surveys are used commonly in colleges and universities, from community colleges to Ivy League in the United States to institutions of higher education in other countries, such as Canada, Australia, England and China (Marsh and Roche, 1997). Typically, the SET survey includes around 20 questions on multiple dimensions of teaching and the course. The purpose of this paper is to examine the validity of SETs in capturing teaching effectiveness by applying two different empirical methods to SET data from a large public research university. Our hypothesis is that SET feedback captures teaching effectiveness in the form of learning. In other words, the more students learn, the higher are the instructor and course SET ratings.

2. The Cost of Public Higher Education in America: What Has Happened and Why

Lloyd A. Blanchard & Amy K. Donahue, April 2020.

The issue of student debt and the cost of college has received a great deal of attention over the past few years. Media outlets, think tanks, and policy watchdogs advance various explanations for the increasing cost of higher education—pointing to cuts in state appropriations, expansion of programs and services, demographic changes, larger administrations, higher salaries, demand for better amenities, and other factors as drivers of higher tuition and fees. Despite the outcry, however, the question of what causes tuition inflation has received little recent attention in the empirical literature. This paper thus embarks on an agenda to answer this question.

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