Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness

Academic journal article Nursing Education Perspectives

Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness

Article excerpt

THERE IS NO QUESTION that there has been renewed attention to teaching and teacher effectiveness. Yet, many academic institutions have failed to move beyond review of individual student course evaluations as evidence of the teacher's ability and skills in teaching. We evaluate our students' positive and negative responses and make decisions about the future careers of individual faculty members. My experience is that these evaluations often reveal only the exceptionally bad teacher, rather than the teacher who is mediocre, unchallenging, or even uninteresting.

So, questions remain about how to best evaluate teaching effectiveness. Should nurse faculty be measured on the percentage of students who pass the NCLEX exams? The percentage of students who pursue additional education? Or the percentage of students who publish in professional journals? Or, from a negative perspective, should the faculty member be evaluated as less than adequate if students do not succeed in nursing?

In a recent Chronicle of Higher Education article titled "What Makes a Teacher Great?" (December 12, 2003), it was reported that even "Professors of the Year" had a hard time explaining how they do what they do well. While many teachers can describe their philosophy of teaching, and even more can outline the techniques they use and the skills that are required to accomplish their teaching tasks, it is not easy for even good teachers to describe what makes a teacher great. When in doubt, we often gravitate toward quantification and unidimensional aspects of evaluation, such as student course evaluations.

Teaching is an art. Consequently, it should be judged as other art forms are - for the passion and beauty of the performance and the meaningfulness of the message conveyed. …

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