Do professor’s age and gender matter or do students give higher value to professors’ experience?

DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/QAE-12-2018-0127
Pages511-532
Publication Date14 October 2019
Date14 October 2019
AuthorMartin Flegl,Luis Antonio Andrade Rosas
SubjectEducation,Educational evaluation/assessment
Do professors age and gender
matter or do students give higher
value to professorsexperience?
Martin Flegl and Luis Antonio Andrade Rosas
Facultad de Negocios, Universidad La Salle México, Ciudad de México, Mexico
Abstract
Purpose Many higher education institutions(HEIs) have constructed their internal evaluation systems to
secure teaching quality. This paper aims to analyze teaching quality, HEIs use students to evaluate their
professors as they have directcontact with the professors during the whole semester. The authorities hope to
receive valuableinformation, which can be used for many administrativepurposes. The bias in the evaluation
toward professorsgender and attractiveness has already been proven. However, there is only limited
evidencewhether students give higher value to teaching qualityover the professorspersonality.
Design/methodology/approach In this paper, the authors go further in the gender-attractiveness
evidenceand put the evaluation in contrast with professorsexperience,age, etc.
Findings The results indicate that the effect of experiencepredominates the effect of gender and in some
areas also the effectof age. What is more, a semester in which a courseis taken also inuences the evaluation
as different professorsabilitiesare required in teaching in a different semester.On the other hand, the results
do not fully conrmthe effect of gender on the evaluation.
Originality/value The results reveal that it is important to consider the course structure to assign
professorsto the right courses.
Keywords Econometrics, Higher education, Professors evaluation, Students evaluation,
Teaching quality
Paper type Research paper
1. Introduction
Students select their university according to many criteria, such as university reputation,
quality of teaching, study program difculty, etc. The university reputation is usually
connected to quality in teaching and research performance. Quality in teaching can be
dened and measured in many ways. For example, Heyneman (2004) measures school
quality based on the level of expenditures in non-salary inputs (such as textbooks,
computers and learning materials), whereas Hanushek and Woessmann (2008) dene
quality as the capability of preparing students to perform well on standardized tests.
Nowadays, students demand an education that prepares them well for their future
professional life. Therefore, in this article, we extend the later denition and understand
quality teaching as university capability of preparing students to perform well on
standardized tests and on labor market. In this case, universities must provide meaningful
and relevant teaching, which complieswith the demand on the market. Thus, authorities of
the higher education institutions (HEIs) must search for opportunities on how to secure or
better and how to improvethe quality of teaching or professor workforce.
This article was supported by Universidad La Salle México under Grant Análisis de rendimiento y
eciencia en el área educativa institucional,number EDU-09/17.
Students give
higher value to
professors
511
Received5 December 2018
Revised29 March 2019
9July2019
1August2019
Accepted4 August 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.27 No. 4, 2019
pp. 511-532
© Emerald Publishing Limited
0968-4883
DOI 10.1108/QAE-12-2018-0127
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
www.emeraldinsight.com/0968-4883.htm
Quality of teachers is vital in improving studentsachievements (Canales and
Maldonado, 2018;Goldhaber, Brewer and Anderson, 1999;Meltzer and Woessmann, 2012;
Rivkin et al.,2005) as professorsexperience has an impact on studentsperformance
(Clotfelter, Ladd and Vigdor, 2007;Rivkin et al., 2005;Hendricks, 2014;Rockoff, 2004).
Teaching quality can be improved by modifying the type of teachers, providing nancial
incentives or through training and professional development (Ome et al.,2017). HEIs
authorities must carefully manage nancial incentives as, on one side, they have positive
impact on studentsachievements (Duoet al., 2012;Figlio and Kenny, 2007;Hendricks,
2014;Lavy, 2009;Rivkin et al.,2005;Rockoff, 2004), but, on the other side, with higher
nancial incentives teacherscan be less willing to collaborate with others and participatein
unpaid school activities (Eberts et al.,2002;Jones, 2013). Moreover, the effect of nancial
incentives declines with higher teaching experience (Hendricks, 2014). Similarly, research
indicates that teachertraining has little to no impact on studentsachievements (Canalesand
Maldonado, 2018;Harris and Sass, 2011). This may create a dilemma for HEIs authorities,
as there is no persuasive evidenceon how to improve the overall quality of teaching. For this
reason, the authorities must searchfor valid information that would enable them to identify
areas of opportunities.
One of the basic sources to obtain valid information about teaching quality is to get
feedback from students as they are in the front line of the interaction with professors.This
feedback is usually obtained through an internal evaluation systems (IES) constructed for
this purpose. In most of the cases, IES use online questionnaires with diverse set of
questions divided into several areas (dimensions). The most common areas are educative,
didactic and pedagogic. However, IES can also include areas such as social and ethics,
teaching and learning or administrative (Hein, Kroenke and Rodrigues Júnior, 2015;Flegl
et al.,2017). The choice of areas and used questions usually correspond to a university
strategy, culture and mission, as well as to the main purpose of the evaluation.Commonly,
the questionnaires include open-endedquestions where students can express their opinions
and/or attach comments related to the evaluation. To get valuable feedback regarding the
teaching quality, the evaluationshould not be unreasonably long. Every semester, students
must complete several evaluations at the same time, which has a direct effect on their
willingness to nish the evaluation (McAuley et al., 2017;Spoorena and Van Loon, 2012).
What is more, students must perceive that the evaluation has an impact on improving
teaching and course quality. Students must perceive the evaluation as a chance to be
involved in teachingquality improvements at their university (BrandBarajas, 2014).
In this article, we want to identify teachersandcourse characteristics that would enable
HEIs authorities to obtain evidencefor possible quality improvements of teaching. For this
purpose, the analysis uses data from an internal evaluation system operated at a private
university in Mexico established 55years ago. Nowadays, the university has around 10,000
students enrolled in bachelor, master and doctoralstudies at one of its seven faculties. The
university workforcecontains around 1,300 professors in its levels. The universityis ranked
as 4th to 9th best privateuniversity in Mexico depending study program. The rstprincipal
objective of the university is to form students to occupy middle and upper management
levels in national and international companies. The second principal objective is to
transform society to minimize socio-economic differences among the populationthrough its
graduates.
HEIsreputation is usually linked to teaching quality (among others), as the HEI should
prepare students for their professional life. However, in the case of the analyzed university,
the authorities perceivethat the teaching outcomes do not satisfy dened internal objectives
and graduates do not reach excellent positions on the labor market. One of the possible
QAE
27,4
512

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