You are here: Aarhus BSS Centre for Teaching and Learning Research and development Quality development and assurance in higher education The impact of gender on Teaching Evaluations in Danish Higher Education

The impact of gender on Teaching Evaluations in Danish Higher Education

Purpose/research question

This study aims to ascertain whether gender bias is present in Denmark in student evaluations of higher education teachers (SETs) and – if so – to explore the mechanisms behind.

Background

International studies have found evidence of gender bias with female teachers receiving lower evaluation scores than male teachers.

Data and analyses

We combine analyses of actual SETs with an experimental study and observations of teaching.

Our sub-projects focus on:

1.     The possible presence of gender bias in actual SETs across the social sciences at Aarhus University where a standardized evaluation procedure allows us to include a range of different study fields,

2.     A field experiment where we can hold constant differences in teaching approach and test whether SETs differ according to perceived teacher gender and,

3.     Observations of actual teaching at AU and VIA University College enabling us to analyze the possible mediating role of teaching approach and the role of institutional context.

Discussion and perspectives

The project will be of immediate relevance to decision makers at all levels in Danish higher education. First, student evaluations of teaching are being used in decisions about hiring and promotion in higher education. The possible gender bias in SETs may thus contribute to the underrepresentation of women in academia. Second, SETs are increasingly being applied for quality assurance at all levels in Danish higher education. To the extent that SETs reflect underlying bias rather than teaching quality it is highly problematic for both personnel decisions and quality assurance systems.

Research team: Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz (PI), Department of Political Science, Aarhus BSS;  Berit Lassesen Center for teaching and Learning, Aarhus BSS, and Gitte Sommer Harrits, VIA University College

Status: current

Contact the researcher behind the project

Berit Lassesen

Associate professor