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Abstract

The effect of faculty strikes in higher education on student achievement is vastly understudied yet has broad implications for discerning potential consequences of labor disputes in academia. Research in this area is understandably difficult, however, as work stoppages in higher education are uncommon, unplanned, and typically brief, which precludes much of the comparative data needed to assess impacts on students. In the spring semester of 2019,WrightStateUniversityexperienced a nearly three-week faculty work stoppage as a result of failed contract negotiations. In this study, end-of-course grades for six undergraduate first-year courses taught prior to and during Spring 2019 by the same instructors using similar pedagogies were compared to assess the effect of the strike on student achievement. No differences in either mean class scores or variation among these scores could be attributed to the strike. Our data suggests that long-term faculty strikes do not affect course-level student achievement, but additional long term and multi-institutional research is needed to explore potential institutional effects.

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