Introduction

This site is intended to help UW-La Crosse faculty and instructional academic staff use graded student work as a basis for demonstrating teaching effectiveness. This encompasses the types of course work instructors routinely use to evaluate student learning such as quizzes, tests, papers, projects, presentations, exercises, and other types of assignments.

Why focus on graded work? The Joint Promotion Committee and the Career Progression Committee look at multiple sources of evidence of teaching effectiveness, including direct measures of student learning. These are activities in which students demonstrate what they know, what they can do, how they have progressed toward course goals, and how they have been changed by instruction, a course, a program, etc. See Joint Promotion Committee Teaching Effectiveness Measures for the complete list of evidence categories. Quizzes, class exercises, homework, projects, papers, etc are all direct measures of student learning that could be used to document teaching effectiveness.

Teaching, of course, is a complex scholarly activity, consisting of
  1. establishing learning goals
  2. planning and design of instructional activities and materials to address learning goals
  3. actual instruction and interaction with students
  4. learning outcomes and the teacher's analysis of student learning and performance
  5. using the feedback from student performance to improve both teaching and student learning.
Consequently, multiple sources of evidence are needed to represent a teacher's effectiveness. However, it is difficult to imagine making a judgment about teaching effectiveness without looking at learning outcomes---some kind of systematic information about what students actually learned--not just what students were supposed to learn (learning goals) or what they claim to have learned (self report), but what they actually learned as revealed in their coursework.

But there is more to making a case for teaching effectiveness than simply summarizing learning outcomes. A summary of what students achieved is just raw data , e.g., 75% understood the concept, 10% partially understood the concept and 15% failed to understand. To make a case about teaching effectiveness the instructor needs to analyze and explain the data. Is 75% success good? In what sense? Compared to what? What about the 25% who do not fully understand the concept? What accounts for their failure? And, most importantly, what will you do to improve student performance in the future?

Instructors will differ in the types of direct measures they use--some may rely solely on in-class tests, others solely on written assignments done outside of class, others on combinations of tests, papers, class exercises. And the settings in which students demonstrate their learning can also vary widely from small class to large class to individual student project to studio, to practice field to laboratory to field site, and so forth. Regardless of setting or type of direct measure there are several core elements of good evidence. To make a good case for your teaching effectiveness you should include:
  • A description of learning goal(s)
  • A copy or description of the Direct Measure, i.e., test or assignment
  • An Analysis of student performance/achievement
    • Copy of rubric, scoring guidelines
    • Characterize student performance, patterns of strengths, weaknesses
  • Based on results explain how you intend to or did improve teaching and learning




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William Cerbin,
Aug 20, 2013, 7:51 PM