Document Type


Publication Date



Political Science



Publication Title

American Politics Research


Is grading polarized in political science classrooms? We offer experimental
evidence that suggests it is not. Many have argued that instructors’ grading
in political science classrooms is skewed by the political characteristics of
the instructor, the student, or an interaction between the two. Yet the
evaluations of whether such biases exist has been asserted and denied with
little evidence—even though prominent theories in political science suggest
that the charge is not entirely implausible. Using a set of anonymous essays
by undergraduates graded by teaching assistants at a variety of institutions,
we test for the presence of bias in a framework that avoids the usual
selection bias issues that confound attempts at inference. After evaluating
the evidence carefully, we find that the evidence for bias is much weaker
than activists claim.


Published as:
Musgrave, Paul and Mark Rom. "Fair and Balanced? Experimental Evidence on Partisan Bias in Grading." American Politics Research (Article published online December 31, 2014). doi:10.1177/1532673X14561655

This author pre-print is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit Sage's Website.