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Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (2003)

Chapter:6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks

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Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
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6
Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks

This report thus far has synthesized the findings of research on evaluating effective teaching, and has offered specific recommendations to leaders in the higher education community for changing the climate and culture on their campuses such that the evaluation of teaching will be valued, respected, and incorporated in the fabric of the institution. The report also has emphasized that any system of teaching evaluation should serve as a critical basis for improving student learning.

The previous chapter provides a framework that departments and institutions can apply to evaluate the teaching of individual faculty. It emphasizes the need for ongoing formative evaluation that offers faculty members ample opportunities, resources, and support systems for improving their teaching prior to any summative evaluations that might be rendered by the department or institution. This chapter presents specific criteria that can be used when summative evaluations are undertaken. These criteria are organized according to the five characteristics of effective teaching outlined in Chapter 2. It should be emphasized that the criteria suggested below are based on the committee’s identification of best practices from an examination of the scholarly literature, but they are not exhaustive. Each evaluating department or institution is encouraged to select and, if necessary, modify those criteria from the compendium presented below that best suit its specific circumstances. As emphasized in Chapter 5, those who evaluate faculty teaching should be careful to use multiple—and defensible—sources of evaluation, particularly for summative purposes.

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×

1. KNOWLEDGE OF AND ENTHUSIASM FOR SUBJECT MATTER

Summarizing the discussion of this characteristic from Chapter 2, effective teachers:

  • Understand and can help students learn and understand the general principles of their discipline (e.g., the processes and limits of the scientific method).

  • Provide students with an overview of the whole domain of the discipline.

  • Possess sufficient knowledge and understanding of their own and related subdisciplines that they can answer most students’ questions or know how to help students find appropriate information.

  • Keep their knowledge about a field of study current through an active research program or through scholarly reading and other types of professional engagement with others in their immediate and related disciplines (e.g., participation in professional meetings and workshops).

  • Are genuinely interested in—and passionate about—the course materials they are teaching. Practicing scientists, mathematicians, and engineers understand and appreciate the infectious enthusiasm that accompanies original discovery, application of theory, and design of new products and processes. Conveying that sense of excitement is equally important in helping students appreciate more fully the subject matter being taught.

The following questions might be posed for evaluation for this characteristic:

  • Does the instructor exhibit an appropriate depth and breadth of knowledge?

  • Is the instructor’s information current and relevant?

  • Does the instructor show continuous growth in the field?

Data sources and forms of evaluation for this characteristic are shown in Table 6-1.

2. SKILL, EXPERIENCE, AND CREATIVITY WITH A RANGE OF APPROPRIATE PEDAGOGIES AND TECHNOLOGIES

Summarizing the discussion of this characteristic in Chapter 2, effective teachers:

  • Have knowledge of and select and use a range of strategies that offer opportunities for students with different learning styles to achieve.

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×

TABLE 6-1 Data Sources and Forms of Evaluation for Evaluating Knowledge and Enthusiasm for Subject Matter

Source of Data

Form of Evaluation

How Evaluation Data Can Be Used (formatively, summatively, or both)

Discussed in Report Beginning on Page(s)

Students

• Student evaluations

• Both

76

 

• Interviews

• Both

80

Faculty Colleagues

• Review of course materials and other products

• Both

63

 

• Observation

• Both

45, 51

Instructor Under Review

• Written self-appraisal

• Both

65

  • Are organized and clearly communicate to students their expectations for learning and academic achievement.

  • Focus on whether students are learning what is being taught and view the learning process as a joint venture between themselves and their students.

  • Give students adequate opportunity to build confidence by practicing skills.

  • Ask interesting and challenging questions.

  • Encourage discussion and promote active learning strategies.

  • Persistently monitor students’ progress toward achieving learning goals through discussions in class, out-of-class assignments, and other forms of assessment.

  • Have the ability to recognize those students who are not achieving to their fullest potential and then employ the professional knowledge and skill necessary to assist them in overcoming academic difficulties.

The following questions might be posed for evaluation for this characteristic:

  • Does the instructor clearly communicate the goals of the course to students?

  • Is the instructor aware of alternative instructional methods or teaching strategies and able to select methods of instruction that are most effective in helping students learn (pedagogical content knowledge)?

  • To what extent does the instructor set explicit goals for student learning and persist in monitoring students’ progress toward achieving those goals?

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×

TABLE 6-2 Data Sources and Forms of Evaluation for Evaluating Skill in and Experience with Appropriate Pedagogies and Technologies

Source of Data

Form of Evaluation

How Evaluation Data Can Be Used (formatively, summatively, or both)

Discussed in Report Beginning on Page(s)

Current Students

• Student ratings

• Both

139

 

• Outcome assessment of learning

• Both

73

Faculty Colleagues

• Review of course materials and other evidence of teaching effectiveness

• Both

63

 

• Observation

• Both

45, 51

Instructor Under Review

• Written self-appraisal

• Both

65

Data sources and forms of evaluation for this characteristic are shown in Table 6-2.

3.UNDERSTANDING OF AND SKILL IN USING APPROPRIATE TESTING PRACTICES

Summarizing the discussion of this characteristic in Chapter 2, effective teachers:

  • Assess learning in ways that are consistent with the learning objectives of a course and integrate stated course objectives with long-range curricular goals.

  • Know whether students are truly learning what is being taught.

  • Determine accurately and fairly students’ knowledge of the subject matter and the extent to which learning has occurred throughout the term (not just at the end of the course).

The following questions might be posed for evaluation for this characteristic:

  • Is the instructor aware of a range of tools that can be used to assess student learning?

  • Does the instructor select assessment techniques that are valid, reliable, and consistent with the goals and learning outcomes of the course?

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
  • Are students involved in contributing to the development of the assessment tools used?

  • Are assignments and tests graded carefully and fairly using criteria that are communicated to students before they begin a task?

  • Do students receive prompt and accurate feedback about their performance at regular intervals throughout the term?

  • Do students receive constructive suggestions on how to improve their course performance?

Data sources and forms of evaluation for this characteristic are shown in Table 6-3.

4. PROFESSIONAL INTERACTIONS WITH STUDENTS WITHIN AND BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

Summarizing the discussion of this characteristic in Chapter 2, effective instructors:

  • Meet with all classes and assigned teaching laboratories, post and keep regular office hours, and hold exams as scheduled.

  • Demonstrate respect for students as individuals; this includes respecting the confidentiality of information gleaned from advising or student conferences.

TABLE 6-3 Data Sources and Forms of Evaluation for Evaluating Proficiency in Assessment

Source of Data

Form of Evaluation

How Evaluation Data Can Be Used (formatively, summatively, or both)

Discussed in Report Beginning on Page(s)

Current Students

• Student ratings

• Both

91

 

• Interviews with selected students

• Both

59

Faculty Colleagues

• Review of course materials and other evidence of teaching effectiveness

• Both

63

 

• Observation

• Both

45, 51

Instructor Under Review

• Written self-appraisal

• Both

65

Institutional Records

• Grade distribution

• Summative

66

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
  • Encourage the free pursuit of learning and protect students’ academic freedom.

  • Address sensitive subjects or issues in ways that help students deal with them maturely.

  • Contribute to the ongoing intellectual development of individual students and foster confidence in their ability to learn and discover on their own.

  • Act as an advisor to students who are having problems with course material and know how to work with such students in other venues besides the classroom to help them achieve. When a student clearly is not prepared to undertake the challenges of a particular course, the effective instructor may counsel that student out of the course or suggest alternative, individualized approaches for the student to learn the subject matter that is prerequisite for the course.

  • Uphold and model for students the best scholarly and ethical standards (e.g., University of California Faculty Code of Conduct).1

The following questions might be posed for evaluation for this characteristic:

  • Taking into account differences in the difficulty and cost of undertaking research in various disciplines, undergraduate research experiences should engage students in interesting and challenging projects that help them develop additional insight into and understanding of science, as well as the specific topic on which they are working. How active has the instructor been in directing student research projects and independent studies? What is the caliber of these student projects? To what extent has the instructor fostered independent and original thinking by students and inspired them to develop sufficient independence to pursue the subject on their own? Have students been encouraged to participate in professional meetings? Has student work led to professional publications or acknowledgments?

  • Does the instructor take an active interest in advisees’ individual academic and career choices? How well informed is the instructor about department and university policies and procedures that concern advisees? Does the instructor provide sufficient office time for students to obtain clarification and guidance?

  • How effectively does the instructor train and supervise teaching assistants assigned to his or her courses? How does the instructor contribute to the professional development of teaching

1  

The University of California System’s Faculty Code of Conduct Manual is available at <http://www.ucop.edu/acadadv/acadpers/apm/>.

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×

TABLE 6-4 Data Sources and Forms of Evaluation for Evaluating Professionalism with Students Within and Beyond the Classroom

Source of Data

Form of Evaluation

How Evaluation Data Can Be Used (formatively, summatively, or both)

Discussed in Report Beginning on Page(s)

Current Students

• Student ratings

• Both

91

 

• Interviews

• Summative

139

 

• Special surveys

• Summative

93

Former Students

• Retrospective assessment

• Both

60

Teaching Assistants

• Written appraisal

• Both

60

Faculty Colleagues

• Review of instructor’s contributions to curriculum design and development

• Both

63

Instructor Under Review

• Written self-appraisal

• Summative

65, 93

assistants? Does the instructor treat his or her assistants with courtesy and as professional colleagues?

Data sources and forms of evaluation for this characteristic are shown in Table 6-4.

5. INVOLVEMENT WITH AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO ONE’S PROFESSION IN ENHANCING TEACHING AND LEARNING

Much can be learned from teachers who work with colleagues both on and beyond the campus. Effective teaching needs to be seen as a scholarly pursuit that takes place in collaboration with departmental colleagues, faculty in other departments in the sciences and engineering, and even more broadly across disciplines. Such conversations enable faculty to better integrate the course materials they present in their courses with what is being taught in other courses.

Summarizing the discussion of this characteristic in Chapter 2, effective teachers:

  • Work with colleagues both on and beyond campus, collaborating with departmental colleagues; faculty in

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×

other departments in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering.

  • Work to better integrate the materials they present in their courses with what is being taught in other courses.

The following questions might be posed for evaluation for this characteristic:

  • During the term, has the instructor specifically elicited feedback from students, colleagues, or instructional experts (e.g., from the campus teaching and learning center) about the quality of his or her teaching?

  • To what extent does the instructor meet his or her teaching obligations and responsibilities?

  • Has the instructor made noteworthy contributions to the design and development of the department’s curriculum? Has the instructor produced valuable instructional materials or publications related to teaching effectiveness or classroom activities? Has the instructor been involved in efforts to improve education or teaching within the discipline or across disciplines? Has the instructor participated in seeking external support for instrumentation or education research projects?

Data sources and forms of evaluation for this characteristic are shown in Table 6-5.

TABLE 6-5 Data Sources and Forms of Evaluation for Evaluating Professional Involvement and Contributions

Source of Data

Form of Evaluation

How Evaluation Data Can Be Used (formatively, summatively, or both)

Discussed in Report Beginning on Page(s)

Current Students

• Student ratings

• Both

91

 

• Formative procedures

• Formative

61

Instructor Under Review

• Written self-appraisal

• Both

65

 

• Grant applications

 

46

 

• Publications

 

48

Colleagues from Within and Outside the Institution

• Written reviews of work

• Both

79

Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page100
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page101
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page102
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page103
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page104
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page105
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page106
Suggested Citation:"6 Evaluation of Individual Faculty: Criteria and Benchmarks." National Research Council. 2003. Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10024.
×
Page107
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Economic, academic, and social forces are causing undergraduate schools to start a fresh examination of teaching effectiveness. Administrators face the complex task of developing equitable, predictable ways to evaluate, encourage, and reward good teaching in science, math, engineering, and technology.

Evaluating, and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics offers a vision for systematic evaluation of teaching practices and academic programs, with recommendations to the various stakeholders in higher education about how to achieve change.

What is good undergraduate teaching? This book discusses how to evaluate undergraduate teaching of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology and what characterizes effective teaching in these fields.

Why has it been difficult for colleges and universities to address the question of teaching effectiveness? The committee explores the implications of differences between the research and teaching cultures-and how practices in rewarding researchers could be transferred to the teaching enterprise.

How should administrators approach the evaluation of individual faculty members? And how should evaluation results be used? The committee discusses methodologies, offers practical guidelines, and points out pitfalls.

Evaluating, and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics provides a blueprint for institutions ready to build effective evaluation programs for teaching in science fields.

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