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Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching. Bill Burke Program Manager for Educational Development Teaching and Academic Support Center. How many have used end-of-semester student evaluations? How many have used an alternative approach?.

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slide1

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Bill Burke

Program Manager for Educational Development

Teaching and Academic Support Center

How many have used end-of-semester student evaluations?

How many have used an alternative approach?

My comments are based in part on “Evaluating Your Own Teaching” by Dee Fink (published in Improving College Teaching by Peter Seldin (Ed.)

slide2

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Doing good teaching evaluations is like doing good research

Need to identify the right questions to ask

Need to figure out how to get the data to answer them

Teaching evaluations can serve two purposes –

Formative feedback

Summative assessment

slide3

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Use a multidimensional approach to evaluating what is a multivariable activity

A good evaluation program should be ongoing, strategic, comprehensive, multidimensional, integrated, and evolving

Five sources of evaluation feedback

Student feedback

Self-evaluation

Recordings

Student performance

Outside evaluators

All sources have unique values and inherent limitations

slide4

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Student Feedback

Can be done during the semester and/or end-of-semester

1) Questionnaires

+ Obtain feedback from whole class

+ Anonymous

+ Can provide quantitative and qualitative data

- Questions may not be appropriate or relevant or most informative

- No chance to probe for further clarification

slide5

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Misconceptions about student evaluations

Students don’t know enough to evaluate faculty

Those multiple-choice forms can’t be as meaningful as open-ended questions and interviews

Easy graders and entertainers get the high evaluations

Rigorous instructors will get low evaluations

Students may rate me low now, but they’ll appreciate me later

slide6

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Fact: Student input on some items (holding office hours, returning papers in a timely manner) is reliable and the best source

Fact: High correlation between student ratings and other sources such as peers and administrators

Fact: Comparison of objective questions, written responses to open-ended questions, and group interviews yielded a correlation of 0.82

Fact: Conflicting findings exist on grading and evaluations (But can’t assume high grades & high ratings means no rigor)

slide7

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Fact: Teachers assigning more work and more difficult work tend to get higher evaluations

Fact: Students don’t change their opinions later

slide8

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making student evaluations more meaningful

Have a clear idea about your teaching goals and learning outcomes

Do evaluations provide feedback on these?

If not, ask the students to comment on specific items (write them on the board)

slide9

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making student evaluations more meaningful

Focus on specifics versus global items

Focus on teaching characteristics versus personal characteristics

Target one or two items to work on

Use more than one course (a variety of courses over several semesters)

slide10

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making Sense of Written Comments

Harder to make sense of written comments

Some are contradictory

Need to impose some structure through systematic analysis

slide11

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making Sense of Written Comments

Cluster evaluations according to overall course ratings

Similar comments between high and low raters?

Cluster according to comments

Do patterns emerge?

Use student demographic data when possible and appropriate

slide12

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making Sense of Written Comments

Make a list of common positive and negative characteristics of teachers

Put checkmarks next to them based on student comments

Helps quantify the diversity of comments

Produces a visual as well as quantitative display

slide13

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Making Sense of Written Comments

Ask students to comment on –

What made you rate the course as you did?

What kept you from rating the course higher?

slide14

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Student Feedback

2) Interviews (by you or a third party)

Focus group

Whole class (e.g., Group Instructional Feedback Technique [GIFT])

+ Students identify unanticipated strengths and weaknesses

+ Interviewer can probe

- Whole class may not be represented

slide15

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Self-Evaluation

Personal observations during class

Reflections / journal

Teaching portfolio

Teaching philosophy statement - personal and descriptive

Evidence of putting philosophy into action

Evidence of growth as a teacher

You have a voice here

Evaluators need a rubric

slide18

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Self-Evaluation

+ Immediate and constant feedback

+ Meaningful to you

- Subject to your biases, misconceptions, and delusions

Self-assess your perceived teaching strengths and weaknesses

Get feedback to confirm or refute

slide19

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Recordings

Audio and/or Video

+ Provides objective information

- Information is true but may be meaningless by itself in determining impact on student learning

slide20

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Student Performance

Course assessments (exams, papers, etc.)

Pre / Post tests

Classroom research projects

+ Provides evidence of student learning

- Lack of an unequivocal causal relationship

slide21

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Outside Evaluators

Observations of teaching

Review of materials

+ Can offer positive and negative observations without a personal cost

+ Bring professional expertise in content and/or pedagogy

- Limited number of class visits (snap shot perspective)

Need an agreement on what is to be observed or reviewed and criteria for judgment

slide22

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Outside Evaluators

Conducted by -

Peers

+ Low political risk

+ Empathy

- Limited experience and perspective

Senior faculty / Administrators

+ Experience

- Political risk

Instructional specialists from a center

+ Objective with no political risk

+ Expertise in instructional strategies

- Limited knowledge of subject matter

slide23

Alternative Strategies for Evaluating Teaching

Use a multidimensional approach to evaluating what is a multivariable activity

A good evaluation program should be ongoing, strategic, comprehensive, multidimensional, integrated, and evolving

Questions?

Comments?