Class Size at University

Gervas Huxley, Jennifer Mayo, Mike Peacey, Maddy Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
364 Downloads (Pure)


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 is currently available. We define a measure of teaching that weights contact hours by their intensity and collect a new dataset that allows comparison of teaching across universities and three departments.

No two universities offer identical teaching. There is large variation in contact hours and even larger variation in teaching intensity - both across 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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
JournalFiscal Studies
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2018


  • Class size
  • Student choice
  • Teaching Excellence Framework
  • TEF
  • Teaching intensity


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