Evaluation Methodologies

Part I of this report describes recent research on ways to rethink and restructure teaching and learning, coupled with new approaches to evaluation and professional development for faculty. Those findings have the potential to reshape undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for a much larger number of undergraduates. However, developing strategies for implementing and sustaining such changes requires the commitment of all members of a college or university community.

In a teaching and learning community, the most effective evaluation is that which encourages and rewards effective teaching practices on the basis of student learning outcomes (Doherty et al., 2002; Shapiro and Levine, 1999). Assessment of student learning at its best enables students to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and to determine the kinds of information they need to correct their learning deficiencies and misconceptions. When such evaluation is properly employed, students learn that they can engage in self-assessment and continuous improvement of performance throughout their lives.

Accordingly, this chapter offers practical guidance to postsecondary faculty and administrators on ways to institute a system of both evaluation and professional development that can contribute to significant gains in teaching effectiveness for faculty who teach undergraduates. The chapter describes how input from students (undergraduates and graduate teaching assistants), colleagues, and faculty self-evaluation can be used for evaluating individual instructors. It also describes the advantages and disadvantages of these various approaches.

As stated in Chapter 1, ongoing formative assessment of student learn-

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