Journal of Nursing Education

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An Appraisal Process for Classroom Teaching in Higher Education

Barbara L Schare, RN, EdD

Abstract

The teaching of nursing is divided into three major areas: classroom teaching, laboratory practice and clinical experience. Each of these areas deserves evaluation; each has its own particular set of variables. The nursing literature, however, is more devoted to the evaluation of classroom instruction, perhaps, as suggested by O'Shea and Parsons (1979), because the clinical teaching environment is unique and difficult to measure since there is some element of risk involved and therefore some concomitant learner and teacher anxiety.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (AAUP Bulletin, 1975, pp. 200-202) suggested that multiple measures should be utilized for faculty evaluation, but particularly stressed peer evaluation of classroom instruction. Borich and Fenton (1977 ) identified four stages of measurement in the appraisal process: Preoperational, Immediate (formative evaluations), Intermediate (summative evaluations) and Product. Each of these stages will be explored.

Preoperational Process Stage

This first stage of the assessment process includes variables which are used to assess personality, attitude, experience, achievement and aptitude. In higher education, the traditional method used to assess these variables in the form of a curriculum vitae (CV). In the CV, the person reports her/his educational and work experiences, community and professional organizations and committees, publications and research activities. Most CVs include reference persons who can attest to one or more of the variables. The CV does provide a base line, which can be used on a yearly basis, for measurement of academic progression in the areas of teaching, research and scholarly activities. The CV tends to be quantitative in nature and thus does not measure the quality of the self-reported activities.

Immediate Process Stage

The next step is often referred to as the formative, observational phase. During this phase, the teachers actual classroom behavior is recorded. The actual form should be devised according to variables and constructs which have been previously reported in the literature.

Background for Instrument Construction

Kiker (1973) surveyed 103 students; 30 undergraduate education students, 37 undergraduate nursing students and 36 graduate nursing students, in an attempt to identify the essential characteristics of the nursing instructor. She found that in sharp contrast to the education students, the undergraduate nursing students placed organization of the classroom and/or laboratory experience in first place while the graduate nursing students rated creativity and stimulation as the most essential characteristics.

Norman and Haumann (1978) formulated a student appraisal of teacher effectiveness instrument which comprised thirty behaviors encompassing theory and clinical practice. The behaviors refer to stimulating student thinking, teacher clarity in "getting message across" and use of alternative teaching techniques (e.g., visual aids).

Centra (1975) studied colleagues as raters of classroom instruction. While he concluded that colleagues tend to rate their peers higher with less variance than students, an interesting side issue emerged. Faculty and student raters intercorrelated significantly on only 6 of 16 faculty behaviors.

A pattern appears to emerge in the literature review. Students as well as faculty value competence (knowledge of subject matter), creativity (encouraging students to think) and instructor's style (personal attributes), as important elements in evaluation. These concepts should be included in both the immediate and intermediate appraisal forms (Figures 1 & 2).

Guidelines for Scoring and Use of Tool

Part I relates to the construct labeled "professional competence" as indicated in the literature. Part II refers to creativity and student relationships while part III relates to personal characteristics. The first part is comprised of ten items while the latter two are comprised of six and four items respectively. The inclusion of different numbers of items in each part is according to the importance ofthat area as identified in the review of the…

The teaching of nursing is divided into three major areas: classroom teaching, laboratory practice and clinical experience. Each of these areas deserves evaluation; each has its own particular set of variables. The nursing literature, however, is more devoted to the evaluation of classroom instruction, perhaps, as suggested by O'Shea and Parsons (1979), because the clinical teaching environment is unique and difficult to measure since there is some element of risk involved and therefore some concomitant learner and teacher anxiety.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) (AAUP Bulletin, 1975, pp. 200-202) suggested that multiple measures should be utilized for faculty evaluation, but particularly stressed peer evaluation of classroom instruction. Borich and Fenton (1977 ) identified four stages of measurement in the appraisal process: Preoperational, Immediate (formative evaluations), Intermediate (summative evaluations) and Product. Each of these stages will be explored.

Preoperational Process Stage

This first stage of the assessment process includes variables which are used to assess personality, attitude, experience, achievement and aptitude. In higher education, the traditional method used to assess these variables in the form of a curriculum vitae (CV). In the CV, the person reports her/his educational and work experiences, community and professional organizations and committees, publications and research activities. Most CVs include reference persons who can attest to one or more of the variables. The CV does provide a base line, which can be used on a yearly basis, for measurement of academic progression in the areas of teaching, research and scholarly activities. The CV tends to be quantitative in nature and thus does not measure the quality of the self-reported activities.

Immediate Process Stage

The next step is often referred to as the formative, observational phase. During this phase, the teachers actual classroom behavior is recorded. The actual form should be devised according to variables and constructs which have been previously reported in the literature.

Background for Instrument Construction

Kiker (1973) surveyed 103 students; 30 undergraduate education students, 37 undergraduate nursing students and 36 graduate nursing students, in an attempt to identify the essential characteristics of the nursing instructor. She found that in sharp contrast to the education students, the undergraduate nursing students placed organization of the classroom and/or laboratory experience in first place while the graduate nursing students rated creativity and stimulation as the most essential characteristics.

FIGURE 1IMMEDIATE ASSESSMENT TOOL OF CLASSROOM TEACHING

FIGURE 1

IMMEDIATE ASSESSMENT TOOL OF CLASSROOM TEACHING

In 1976, Dixon and Koerner conducted a three-stage study to identify and validate constructs which students used in differentiating among teachers. Utilizing factor analysis, two major factors emerged which accounted for 49.2 percent of the variance. Factor I, included high loading items such as: evaluates the student in a variety of ways, keeps the student appraised of his progress, identifies strengths and guides development. Factor II focused on classroom orientation and consisted of such items as: demonstrates logical thinking, shares own thinking, and relates theory to practice.

An article written by Nash (1977) described a faculty's efforts in devising several evaluation forms, one of which was related to classroom instruction, After defining evaluation objectives a form for teacher evaluation in the classroom setting was devised. Three major areas with specific behaviors were identified: 1) presentation of material (organization and clarity of material presented), 2) participation and class interaction (student faculty relationships) and 3) instructor's style (personal characteristics).

FIGURE 2INTERMEDIATE ASSESSMENT TOOL

FIGURE 2

INTERMEDIATE ASSESSMENT TOOL

Norman and Haumann (1978) formulated a student appraisal of teacher effectiveness instrument which comprised thirty behaviors encompassing theory and clinical practice. The behaviors refer to stimulating student thinking, teacher clarity in "getting message across" and use of alternative teaching techniques (e.g., visual aids).

Centra (1975) studied colleagues as raters of classroom instruction. While he concluded that colleagues tend to rate their peers higher with less variance than students, an interesting side issue emerged. Faculty and student raters intercorrelated significantly on only 6 of 16 faculty behaviors.

A pattern appears to emerge in the literature review. Students as well as faculty value competence (knowledge of subject matter), creativity (encouraging students to think) and instructor's style (personal attributes), as important elements in evaluation. These concepts should be included in both the immediate and intermediate appraisal forms (Figures 1 & 2).

Guidelines for Scoring and Use of Tool

Part I relates to the construct labeled "professional competence" as indicated in the literature. Part II refers to creativity and student relationships while part III relates to personal characteristics. The first part is comprised of ten items while the latter two are comprised of six and four items respectively. The inclusion of different numbers of items in each part is according to the importance ofthat area as identified in the review of the literature. The more items, the more important the area.

This assessment tool should be administered at the beginning, middle and end of the course. It provides immediate feedback to the instructor and provides more quantitative data; that is, presence or absence of a particular behavior. However, the direction of the behavior tends to indicate qualitative approaches. If evaluated three times during a quarter course, the tool should identify classroom lecture patterns used by the teacher.

Intermediate Process Stage

The intermediate process stage does not provide for immediate feedback but adds a summary effect to the data. This type of appraisal provides a "global description of teacher behaviors" responsible for student growth. The tool described here encompasses all of the behaviors previously presented in the Immediate Assessment Tool for Classroom Teaching, and thus becomes a more summative evaluation tool.

Guidelines for Scoring and Use of Tool

Each item is added so that a mean is established. An overall mean then could be employed to determine overall teaching effectiveness. This form could be utilized as one part of the evaluation process when a faculty member is writing a yearly, selfevaluation document.

Product Stage

Product appraisal attempts to measure teacher effectiveness by assessing changes in students' achievement over time. Some experts consider this stage to be the most important phase of the appraisal process. This stage should include the observations and ratings made at the previous stages but should also contribute new data to the appraisal process. Generally either standardized tests (norm-referenced) or criteria-referenced tests (teacher-made) are employed as measurement indices for this stage. State Board Tests, National League for Nursing Achievement Tests and, at the graduate level, certification examinations can be considered norm-referenced measures. A pre-test administered prior to the beginning of a course, followed by a posttest at the end, is a measure frequently cited as criterion-referenced gauge of achievement.

Summary

An appraisal process was presented which encompassed four major phases: preoperational, immediate, intermediate and product stages. Evaluation tools for the immediate and intermediate stages, with classroom teaching behaviors cited from the literature, were formulated.

The Pre-operational (CV) and Immediate Stages could serve as a baseline for an individual faculty member to assess self improvement. Once these norms have been established, the faculty person could begin to compile a dossier for Promotion and Tenure. The forms presented in this article are but one facet of the evaluation process and other areas, such as research and scholarly activities, should be incorporated into any total evaluation process. The most pertinent use of this system is for the faculty member to assess herself in classroom teaching.

References

  • Borich, G.D., & Fenton, K.S. The appraisal of teaching: concepts and process. Reading, MA: Addison L, Wesley.
  • Centra J.A. (1975). Colleagues as raters of classroom instruction. Journal of Higher Education, 46(3), 327-337.
  • Dixon, J.K., & Koerner, B. (1976). Faculty and student perceptions of effective classroom teaching in nursing. Nursing Research, 25(4), 300-305.
  • Kiker, M- (1973). Characteristics of the effective teacher. Nursing Outlook, 21(11), 721-723.
  • Nash, G. (1977). Faculty evaluation. Nurse Educator, 2(6), 9-13.
  • Norman, E.M., & Haumann, L. (1978). A model forjudging teaching effectiveness. Nurse Educator, 3(2), 29-35.
  • O'Shea. H.S., & Parsons, M.K. (1979). Clinical instruction: effective and ineffective teacher behaviors. Nursing Outlook, 27(6), 411-415.
  • Statement on Teaching Evaluation. (1975). American Association of University Professors Bulletin, Summer.

10.3928/0148-4834-19840101-12

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