The effects of teacher expressiveness, physical attractiveness and self-disclosure on student ratings of teaching
An increase in the use of student ratings of classroom teaching in recent years has been accompanied by controversy concerning the validity of such ratings. One series of experimental studies known as the "Doctor Fox" studies has generated considerable research on possible biasing factors affecting student ratings. This series of studies found that, while student ratings are significantly affected by teacher expressiveness, student achievement is not. In other studies done in a variety of interpersonal and counseling settings, both physical attractiveness and self-disclosure have been found to affect evaluations positively. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of teacher expressiveness, physical attractiveness, and self-disclosure on student ratings and achievement. It also investigated the questions of whether physical attractiveness differentially affects ratings of a low-expressive lecturer, and whether self-disclosure differentially affects ratings of a low-attractive lecturer. In addition, the effects of these three variables on student achievement was investigated. Eight videotapes of a female instructor varying in levels of expressiveness, physical attractiveness, and self-disclosure were developed for the study. Lecture content was held constant. The experimental design was a three-factor between-subjects experiment with two levels of each factor (2 x 2 x 2). Two hundred students were randomly assigned to the eight experimental groups, 25 students per group. These students provided ratings of the videotaped lectures on 12 rating items and took a 10-item quiz over lecture content. The results confirmed the primary premise of the Doctor Fox effect that teacher expressiveness has a major influence on students' ratings of teaching. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) indicated that students gave significantly higher ratings to high-expressive than low-expressive lectures. However, the widespread research finding that physical attractiveness and self-disclosure have positive effects on evaluations in counseling settings was not confirmed in an academic setting; the MANOVA revealed no significant effects on ratings for physical attractiveness or self-disclosure. An analysis of variance indicated that lectures low in self-disclosure resulted in higher student performance on the quiz. Limitations of the study were discussed and suggestions for future research and practice were offered.
Naumann, John J, "The effects of teacher expressiveness, physical attractiveness and self-disclosure on student ratings of teaching" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8818469.