Gender differences in students’ ratings of university teachers in the Iranian education system

Abbas Zare-ee, Zuraidah Mohd Don, Iman Tohidian


University students' ratings of teaching and teachers' performance are used in many parts of the world for the evaluation of faculty members at colleges and universities. Even though these ratings receive mixed reviews, there is little conclusive evidence on the role of the intervening variable of teacher and student gender in these ratings. Possible influences resulting from gender-related differences in different socio-cultural contexts, especially where gender combination in student and faculty population is not proportionate, have not been adequately investigated in previous research. This study aimed to examine Iranian university students' ratings of the professional performance of male and female university teachers and to explore the differences in male and female university students' evaluation of teachers of the same or opposite gender. The study was a questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey with a total of 800 randomly selected students in their different years of undergraduate study (307 male and 493 female students, reflecting the proportion of male and female students in the university) from different faculties at the University of Kashan, Iran. The participants rated male and female teachers’ performance in observing university regulations, relationship with colleagues, and relationships with students. The researchers used descriptive statistics, means comparison inferential statistics and focus-group interview data to analyze and compare the students’ ratings. The results of one-sample t-test, independent samples t-test, and Chi-square analyses showed that a) overall, male university teachers received significantly higher overall ratings in all areas than female teachers; b) male students rated male teachers significantly higher than female students did; and c) female students assigned a higher overall mean rating to male teachers than to female teachers but this mean difference was not significant. These results are studied in relation to the findings in the related literature and indicate that gender can be an important intervening variable in university students' evaluation of faculty members.


Teacher evaluation; gender; student evaluation; teacher performance

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