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Study: Students Do Better In Classes Taught By Adjuncts, Not Professors

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File photo of a university lecture hall.  (Credit: Thinkstock)

File photo of a university lecture hall. (Credit: Thinkstock)

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EVANSTON, IL. (CBS St. Louis) – According to a recent study out of Northwestern University, students learn more from an adjunct professor than from a tenured teacher.

David N. Figlio, director of Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research wrote in the study that he found “strong and consistent evidence that faculty outside the tenure system outperformed tenured professors in introductory undergraduate classrooms.

Researchers also found that students who were less qualified academically did better in classes taught by faculty members that were not tenured.

“We tried every possible thing we could to see if this result was fragile,” Mr. Figlio said in an interview with The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Researchers used data of over 15,000 students who were freshman at Northwestern between 2001 and 2008.

Researchers compared the students’ courses with professors they took and how well they did in that class; then compared each student to see if they took a certain professor again.

Researchers determined that students were more likely to take a second class with a professor if that professor was untenured.

“A nontenure-track faculty member increases the likelihood that a student will take another class in the subject by 7.3 percentage points,” the authors wrote in their study.

The study was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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