Section 8.4.1 Measuring Good Teaching

Section 8.4.1 Measuring Good Teaching

Section 8.4.1 Measuring Good Teaching

Before a tool can be constructed to measure good teaching, the idea has to be defined in a quantifiable and observable manner. Unfortunately there has been considerable difficulty operationally defining the evaluation criteria for good teaching (Lemos et al., 2010). Consequently many academics are unconvinced of the presence of such a singular, unified concept (Algozzine et al., 2004) and purport that an effective teaching metric does not exist (Saroyan and Amundsen 2001; Sproule 2000).

Johnston (2000) claims that attempts to rate teaching implies a single phenomenon that can be evaluated by a set of transferable survey items that can be, as Burden (2008) describes, ‘broken down into these nice little categories that are numerically controlled where if you do XYZ then you’re a good teacher.

Not only is such a unified definition lacking in literature (Cannon 2001) but Lemos et al. (2010) claim that the implicit conceptions of good teaching used in SET have not been subjected to stringent psychometric tests to determine their appropriateness.

In contrast, the following quote from Ramsden (1991) suggest that the dimensions of ‘good teaching’ are not as intensely diverse as some infer:

“There is a widely-held belief that teaching quality is a many-sided yet ultimately elusive phenomenon. This conviction has led several commentators to doubt whether an unambiguous scale of measurement suitable as a [performance indicator] could ever be devised. This conclusion seems altogether too pessimistic…. It is important to realise that research from different but related standpoints has produced similar results. Although ‘good teaching’ is undoubtedly a complicated matter, there is a substantial measure of agreement among those empirical studies about its essential characteristics.”
(Ramsden, 1991, p. 131)

Academic developers regularly list aspects of teaching as more (e.g. active, student-centred) or less (e.g. didactic, teacher-centred) indicative of quality teaching, for example Chickering and Gamson’s (1987) seven principles for good practice.

It may be argued that a general adherence to such principles could form a basis for quality teaching based on a combination of current conceptualisations of effective teaching from literature, empirical research of established SET tools, and correlation with other quality checks to ensure validity.

Activity 8.4.1

To what extent do you think you can measure good teaching?

What is your definition of good teaching?

Does this issue apply to formative SET?

How does this reflect your SET ‘focus’ (see task in Section 2.4)

Submit your answers


Guidelines for good practice:

Improving teaching and Learning:

Good teaching: one size fits all:

Back to 8.4 Continue to Section 8.4.2 Back To Section 8

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