When turning in their final papers by email, a few of my students added positive comments about my class such as "Thanks for a great semester, I really enjoyed this class". All of my students will do an anonymous (to me) evaluation of my class. I imagine that both of these occurrences are commonplace among college students. It would be interesting to see if students who complement the class also give high anonymous evaluations, and this might tell us something about the honesty of praise. This would be an easy study for a college to conduct where a large group of professors tells a researcher which students complemented them, and then the researcher accesses the student evaluations, and then calculates correlations.

This is an interesting idea, but it may be very difficult to do in practice. At many major universities the students' evaluations are fully anonymous-their names are never on them at all. And I suspect that the universities may be uncomfortable changing that even for a few classes just to help answer this question.

4Lumifer5yNorms of politeness will be a confounding variable.

Open thread, Dec. 15 - Dec. 21, 2014

by Gondolinian 1 min read15th Dec 2014309 comments


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