Faculty Publications

Title

Grades and the student evaluation of instruction: A test of the reciprocity effect

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Academy of Management Learning and Education

Volume

5

Issue

1

First Page

52

Last Page

65

Abstract

For years researchers have shown a positive relationship between grades and the evaluations students give to instructors. Numerous reasons for this effect have been suggested and vigorously debated. In this study, we propose a new hypothesis for the relationship, called reciprocity, which states that students reward instructors who give them good grades and punish instructors who give them poor grades, irrespective of any instructor or preexisting student characteristic. Using within-class data we found that changes in grades in the last half of a term were met with systematic and corresponding changes in the evaluations students gave to their instructors. Further, we found a relationship between change in grades and change in evaluations when controlling for both student and instructor characteristics. Only a reciprocity effect fully explains the results.

Original Publication Date

1-1-2006

DOI of published version

10.5465/AMLE.2006.20388384

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