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Class Size at University

Gervas Huxley, Jennifer Mayo, Mike Peacey and Maddy Richardson

Fiscal Studies, 2018, vol. 39, issue 2, 241-264

Abstract: An effective higher education market should increase educational standards. For universities to fulfil this role, students need reliable information about the teaching on offer at different universities, but no such data are currently available. We define a measure of teaching that weights contact hours by their intensity and collect a new data set that allows comparison of teaching across universities and across three departments. No two universities offer identical teaching. There is large variation in contact hours and even larger variation in teaching intensity, across both universities and departments. We combine our data with existing data to investigate the relationship that teaching has with university and student characteristics. We find that how much teaching students receive is uncorrelated with tuition fee; that teaching has little predictive power in explaining student satisfaction; and that physics students consistently receive more teaching than either economics or history students.

Date: 2018
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