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An empirical analysis of some factors affecting student performance

An empirical analysis of some factors affecting student performance

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Journal o$ Accounting Educarion Vol. 2, No. 2 Fall 1984 AN EMPIRICAL ANALYSIS OF SOME FACTORS AFFECTING STUDENT PERFORMANCE Thomas M. Porcano MIAMI UNIVERSITY (OHIO) Absfrocr: Many colleges and universities use instructor and course evaluation forms. Overall, however, contradictory evidence exists concerning the usefulness of these forms as measures of teacher performance. Among the business school disciplines, few studies on the effects or usefulness of the forms have been undertaken. Responses to a 34-item questionnaire (instructor evaluation form) were factor analyzed to identify salient dimensions of the classroom/ learning environment and then the factors were correlated with student performance. The results indicate that responses related to teacher factors in the principles area may not be related to student performance. However, in the taxation and cost accounting areas the responses might be somewhat useful in gaging instructor performance. The use of instructor and course evaluation forms is common in most colleges and universities. The evaluation forms are used to provide feedback on (1) the overall course; (2) the course content; (3) the text; and (4) the instructor’s performance. The importance of these forms varies among institutions; however, a few common uses of these forms are discernable: to document and evaluate instructor performance when considering salary adjustments, promotion, and tenure decisions, reassignment of courses, retention of nonpermanent faculty, etc. Hopefully, these forms provide some indication of the instructor’s control over student accomplishment; i.e., a correlation exists between instructor evaluations and student performance, and thus provide an indication of how well the instructor affected student performance. After a brief literature review, this paper presents the results of a study conducted to determine the salient classroom/ learning factors perceived by students and the correlation of these factors with student performance. PRIOR RESEARCH Instructor evaluation forms have been utilized at many institutional levels. For example, Coats et al. [1972] factor analyzed instructor evaluations of junior and senior high school students to study students’ perceptions of instructors. They identified three factors: (1) instructor charisma; (2) structure (organization); and (3) student-centered (i.e., interaction with
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112 students). However, no attempt was made to determine if these factors had any relationship with student performance. Frey [ 19731 identified factors which correlated with performance and could be used in predicting student performance. He issued an eighteen-item questionnaire to college students in Calculus courses at Northwestern University. Using factor analysis he identified six factors: (1) student accomplishment; (2) work load; (3) organization-planning; (4) grading; (5) instructor presentation; and (6) instructor accessibility. He found factors I, 3, 4, and 5 significantly correlated with grade received, and identified these factors as useful in predicting student performance (final grade).
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