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Do instructional attributes pose multicollinearity problems? An empirical exploration

Mohammad Alauddin and Hong Son Nghiem

Economic Analysis and Policy, 2010, vol. 40, issue 3, 351-361

Abstract: It is commonly perceived that variables ‘measuring’ different dimensions of teaching (construed as instructional attributes) used in student evaluation of teaching (SET) questionnaires are so highly correlated that they pose a serious multicollinearity problem for quantitative analysis including regression analysis. Using nearly 12000 individual student responses to SET questionnaires and ten key dimensions of teaching and 25 courses at various undergraduate and postgraduate levels for multiple years at a large Australian university, this paper investigates whether this is indeed the case and if so under what circumstances. This paper tests this proposition first by examining variance inflation factors (VIFs), across courses, levels and over time using individual responses; and secondly by using class averages. In the first instance, the paper finds no sustainable evidence of multicollinearity. While, there were one or two isolated cases of VIFs marginally exceeding the conservative threshold of 5, in no cases did the VIFs for any of the instructional attributes come anywhere close to the high threshold value of 10. In the second instance, however, the paper finds that the attributes are highly correlated as all the VIFs exceed 10. These findings have two implications: (a) given the ordinal nature of the data ordered probit analysis using individual student responses can be employed to quantify the impact of instructional attributes on TEVAL score; (b) Data based on class averages cannot be used for probit analysis. An illustrative exercise using level 2 undergraduate courses data suggests higher TEVAL scores depend first and foremost on improving explanation, presentation, and organization of lecture materials.

Keywords: Multicollinearity; variance inflation factor; instructional attributes; threshold; Australia (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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