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Why do good performing students highly rate their instructors? Evidence from a natural experiment

, , , Department of Economics

Economics of Education Review Volume 49, Number 1, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article analyzes the behavior of students in a college classroom with regard to their evaluation of teacher performance. As some students are randomly able to see their grades prior to the evaluation, the “natural” experiment provides a unique opportunity for testing the hypothesis as to whether there exists a possibility of a hedonic (implicit) exchange between the students’ grades and teaching evaluations. Students with good grades tend to highly rate the teaching quality of their instructors, in comparison with those who receive relatively poor grades. This study finds that students with better grades than their expected grades provide a psychological “gift” to their teachers by giving a higher teacher evaluation, whereas it is the opposite with those students receiving lower grades than their expectation. These empirical results demonstrate that a previous interpretation on the effect of student grades in an incumbent course with regard to the teaching quality may have to be somewhat discounted.


Cho, D., Baek, W. & Cho, J. (2015). Why do good performing students highly rate their instructors? Evidence from a natural experiment. Economics of Education Review, 49(1), 172-179. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Economics of Education Review on March 1, 2019. Economics of Education Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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