Using Student Peer Evaluations to Evaluate Team Taught Lessons

By Burton, Kimberly Smith | Journal of Instructional Psychology, June 2005 | Go to article overview
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Using Student Peer Evaluations to Evaluate Team Taught Lessons


Burton, Kimberly Smith, Journal of Instructional Psychology


In order to assess whether students fully grasped the six teaching standards in the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM, 1991), the researcher had each student submit peer evaluations of the team lessons that were taught in a Methods and Materials of Teaching Mathematics in the Middle Grades class during the Fall semester of 2003. The intent of this study was to observe the consistency between the student peer evaluations and instructor evaluation of each team lesson based upon the six teaching standards that were addressed during the first ten weeks of class. The class consisted of twenty-one students, four of whom were traditional students with no prior teaching experience and 17 of whom were special licensure students who were currently teaching in area public schools. The class was divided into nine teams of two students. Three students decided to present individually. Students were given a list of topics to select for their presentations. The teams developed twenty-minute lessons to present to their classmates. After reviewing the comments given during each lesson it was evident that at least 70% of the students in the class could recognize and state evidence of the six teaching standards. After reviewing the results the researcher concluded that students definitely need to put into practice the theory, strategies and techniques learned during the semester in which the methods course is being taken.

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Purpose

The intent of this study was to observe the consistency between student peer evaluations and instructor evaluations of team taught lessons based upon the six teaching standards in the Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics (NCTM, 1991). The six standards, which include: (1) worthwhile mathematical tasks, (2) teacher's role in discourse, (3) student's role in discourse, (4) tools for enhancing discourse, (5) learning environment and (6) analysis of teaching and learning, were addressed during the first ten weeks of the fall 2003 semester in the Methods and Materials of Teaching Mathematics in the Middle Grades class.

Review of Literature

Peer evaluation has long played a significant role in leader nomination and performance measurement among business, education, medical, and research professionals (Kramer, 1990).

Outside of these spheres, however, peer evaluation has been approached with trepidation, resulting generally, from the perception that peer evaluations are nothing more than a popularity contest (Sherrard & Raafat, 1994).

Deming contends that levels and standards of performance should not be imposed by a hierarchical authority (i.e. professor) but rather achieved at through coalition building and empowerment of employees (Spragins, 1991).

Having peers evaluate performance and establish standards increases their involvement. helps them adopt a supervisory perspective, and enhances both the accuracy of the ratings as well as the quality of the feedback (Leavitt, 1964).

Previous research has illustrated the potential for peer assessment to improve evaluation accuracy by including the perspective from individuals of the same level (Kane & Lawler, 1978; Lewin & Zwany, 1976; Reilly & Chao, 1982).

Klimoski and London (1974) also indicate that coworkers/peers make finer distinctions among different aspects of performance than do supervisor evaluations.

As a result, feedback from peers is more effective in eliciting behavioral changes than supervisor ratings (DeNisi, Randolph, & Blencoe, 1982).

Methodology

The class consisted of twenty-one students. Four students were traditional students with no prior teaching experience and seventeen were special licensure students who were currently teaching in area public schools. Each semester the students present team taught lessons. However, students were asked for the first time to evaluate each other in teams.

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