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New Research: In Faculty Evals, Students Fall Back on Gender Stereotypes

by Matthew Reisz

French research finds that undergraduates give higher scores to male teachers

Research from France offers evidence that “students appear to rate teachers according to gender stereotypes”, with male students giving higher scores to male lecturers.

That is the conclusion of a paper by Anne Boring, a postdoctoral researcher at L’Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris, better known as Sciences Po, to be presented at the European Economic Association’s annual conference, which takes place in Mannheim later this month. Her database consists of 22,665 evaluations by 4,423 first-year undergraduates of 372 different teachers in a single university.

French “universities make promotion decisions, including tenure, on evaluation of achievements in a combination of research, teaching and service activities,” writes Dr. Boring, adding that “teaching effectiveness” is “mainly evaluated through student evaluations of teaching (SET)”.

Her analysis suggests that “male students give much higher scores to male teachers, in terms of overall satisfaction as well as in all dimensions of teaching”. One clear sign of this is that “male students are 30 per cent more likely to rate male teachers’ overall satisfaction scores as excellent than when evaluating female teachers”, Dr. Boring writes.

Such differences have no basis in “actual teaching

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