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ERIC Number: ED544786
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Apr
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
WWC Review of the Report "Are Tenure Track Professors Better Teachers?" What Works Clearinghouse Single Study Review
What Works Clearinghouse
The study reviewed here examined whether taking a course with a tenure track professor versus a non-tenure track professor for first-term freshman-level courses (e.g., introductory economics) had an impact on students' future enrollment and performance in classes in the same subject. Data from 15,662 students who entered Northwestern University, Illinois, as freshmen between fall 2001 and fall 2008 were used. Findings showed that students who took a freshman-level class with a tenure track professor were statistically significantly less likely to take another class in the same subject (approximately 72% for students taking the introductory course with a tenure track professor, compared to 79% for students taking the course with a non-tenure track professor). Additionally, findings showed that among students who did take another class in the same subject, those whose introductory course was taken with a tenure track professor earned slightly (but statistically significantly) lower grades (about one-tenth of a grade point, e.g., 3.1 to 3.0 on a 0-4.0 scale). This study used a quasi-experimental design and established baseline equivalence between groups on student SAT scores. Although the study established baseline equivalence between groups on student SAT scores, students were not randomly assigned to the intervention and comparison conditions. Therefore, evidence in this study meets What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) standards with reservations. Three appendices provide: (1) Study details; (2) Outcome measures for each domain; and (3) Study findings for each domain. A glossary of terms is also included. [The following study is the focus of this review: Figlio, D. N., Schapiro, M. O., & Soter, K. B. (2013). "Are tenure track professors better teachers?" (NBER Working Paper 19406). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research (ED544502).]
What Works Clearinghouse. P.O. Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393. Tel: 866-503-6114; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: What Works Clearinghouse (ED)
Identifiers - Location: Illinois
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: SAT (College Admission Test)
IES Funded: Yes