When Students Teach Students, the Benefits Compound

September 07, 2016

By Martin J. Smith

At a time when cost-sensitive universities and even national labor experts are examining the role that graduate-student instructors play in higher education, Stanford Graduate School of Education professor Eric Bettinger has released a study that may help decision makers better measure their true value.

The bottom line, according to Bettinger, is that everyone involved benefits from an educational system that uses grad students as instructors: the undergraduates, the student teachers, and the institutions. “The benefits are at least as great as the costs,” he says.

Bettinger and his study coauthors, Bridget Terry Long and Eric S. Taylor, both of Harvard Graduate School of Education, used administrative data provided by the Ohio Board of Regents to study undergraduates and grad-student instructors at 12 public four-year colleges and universities in that state during the fall of 1998 and the fall of 1999.