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      Gender and cultural bias in student evaluations: Why representation matters

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          Abstract

          Gendered and racial inequalities persist in even the most progressive of workplaces. There is increasing evidence to suggest that all aspects of employment, from hiring to performance evaluation to promotion, are affected by gender and cultural background. In higher education, bias in performance evaluation has been posited as one of the reasons why few women make it to the upper echelons of the academic hierarchy. With unprecedented access to institution-wide student survey data from a large public university in Australia, we investigated the role of conscious or unconscious bias in terms of gender and cultural background. We found potential bias against women and teachers with non-English speaking backgrounds. Our findings suggest that bias may decrease with better representation of minority groups in the university workforce. Our findings have implications for society beyond the academy, as over 40% of the Australian population now go to university, and graduates may carry these biases with them into the workforce.

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          What’s in a Name: Exposing Gender Bias in Student Ratings of Teaching

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            Student Evaluations of Teaching (Mostly) Do Not Measure Teaching Effectiveness

            Student evaluations of teaching (SET) are widely used in academic personnel decisions as a measure of teaching effectiveness. We show: SET are biased against female instructors by an amount that is large and statistically significant the bias affects how students rate even putatively objective aspects of teaching, such as how promptly assignments are graded the bias varies by discipline and by student gender, among other things it is not possible to adjust for the bias, because it depends on so many factors SET are more sensitive to students' gender bias and grade expectations than they are to teaching effectiveness gender biases can be large enough to cause more effective instructors to get lower SET than less effective instructors. These findings are based on nonparametric statistical tests applied to two datasets: 23,001 SET of 379 instructors by 4,423 students in six mandatory first-year courses in a five-year natural experiment at a French university, and 43 SET for four sections of an online course in a randomized, controlled, blind experiment at a US university.
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              Student Evaluation of College Teaching Effectiveness: a brief review

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: ValidationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curation
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Funding acquisitionRole: Project administrationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Funding acquisition
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: SupervisionRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                2019
                13 February 2019
                : 14
                : 2
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Mathematics and Statistics, UNSW, Sydney, Australia
                [2 ] Department of Government and International Relations, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
                [3 ] Division of Academic, UNSW Sydney, Australia
                [4 ] Division of Research, UNSW Sydney, Australia
                [5 ] School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney, Australia
                University of Indianapolis, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-18-14789
                10.1371/journal.pone.0209749
                6373838
                30759093
                © 2019 Fan et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 4, Pages: 16
                Product
                Funding
                This study was funded by Division of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, UNSW. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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