Remains of the Day

Table SettingWe periodically write about attempts to measure teaching effectiveness — some previous examples are here, here, and here. As an update to my recent post on the subject, I now have the results of a self-designed teaching evaluation for my first-year seminar. Eighteen of twenty-one students in the class completed the survey. For the full text of each question, click on the recent post link above. Average scores are on a five-point scale, ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree,” except for the last question, which I formulated as “much better” to “much worse”:

  • Perspectives of people with different cultural backgrounds: 4.5.
  • Multiple approaches to solving problems: 4.5.
  • Effects of immigration, the environment, violence, racism: 4.7.
  • Communicating accurately and persuasively in writing: 4.4.
  • Analyzing and evaluating information: 4.2.
  • Get to know classmates better: 4.4.
  • Understanding of the diversity of human experience: 4.4.

I seem to have succeeded in hitting the university mission- and subject-oriented outcomes that I built into the course, at least from the standpoint of student perceptions. It remains hard to say whether students learned more than they would have if I had taught the course differently, but I do think my survey provides me with more useful feedback on my teaching than the university’s evaluation instrument.