nep-edu New Economics Papers
on Education
Issue of 2019‒08‒26
two papers chosen by
Marco Novarese
Università del Piemonte Orientale

  1. Students Are Almost as Effective as Professors in University Teaching By Jan Feld; Nicolás Salamanca; Ulf Zölitz
  2. SMARTPHONE USE AND ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE: CORRELATION OR CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP? By Stijn Baert; Suncica Vujic; Simon Amez; Matteo Claeskens; Thomas Daman; Arno Mackelberghe; Eddy Omey; Lieven De Marez

  1. By: Jan Feld; Nicolás Salamanca; Ulf Zölitz
    Abstract: In a previous paper, we have shown that academic rank is largely unrelated to tutorial teaching effectiveness. In this paper, we further explore the effectiveness of the lowest-ranked instructors: students. We confirm that students are almost as effective as senior instructors, and we produce results informative on the effects of expanding the use of student instructors. We conclude that hiring moderately more student instructors would not harm students, but exclusively using them will likely negatively affect student outcomes. Given how inexpensive student instructors are, however, such a policy might still be worth it.
    Keywords: student instructors, university, teacher performance
    JEL: I21 I24 J24
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Stijn Baert; Suncica Vujic; Simon Amez; Matteo Claeskens; Thomas Daman; Arno Mackelberghe; Eddy Omey; Lieven De Marez (-)
    Abstract: After a decade of correlational research, this study attempts to measure the causal impact of (general) smartphone use on educational performance. To this end, we merge survey data on general smartphone use, exogenous predictors of this use, and other drivers of academic success with the exam scores of first-year students at two Belgian universities. The resulting data are analysed with instrumental variable estimation techniques. A one-standard-deviation increase in daily smartphone use yields a decrease in average exam scores of about one point (out of 20). When relying on ordinary least squares estimations, the magnitude of this effect is substantially underestimated. The negative association between smartphone use and exam results is more outspoken for students (i) with highly educated fathers, (ii) with divorced parents and (iii) who are in good health. Policy-makers should at least invest in information and awareness campaigns of teachers and parents to highlight this trade-off between smartphone use and academic performance.
    Keywords: smartphone use, academic performance, causality
    Date: 2019–08

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