In the previous article, we discussed the final "E" in ADDIE, which encapsulates both Evaluation and Evolution. We also touched on how evaluation can be further divided into student and teacher assessments! In this article, let's delve into the evaluation of teachers!
In my early days as a corporate lecturer, between 2006 to 2008, I also undertook part-time teaching at a university. It was then I discovered a striking contrast in how schools versus corporations viewed teacher evaluations. At universities, teachers are evaluated once per semester, often at the end of the term or when students are selecting courses for the new term. Students are asked to complete evaluations of their teachers through a computer system, or sometimes via a questionnaire distributed at the end of the semester. Some students take this seriously and respond diligently, some answer casually, and others (like myself) may have some reservations (like, would there be any consequences if I answer recklessly before graduation? XD). At the end of the term, teachers receive a rating along with the department's average score. As long as one's rating doesn't deviate too far from the average, say around 4.0, it's generally considered okay. A very high rating (like 4.8 ~ 5.0) really doesn't make much difference. And if it's really low (for instance, 3.0), some schools may express concern about the teacher, or... well, it might not matter much! In some of the schools I attended, there were teachers whose courses were so terrible, we bravely gave them low scores and negative feedback! However... despite more than a decade having passed, not much has changed!
However, when it comes to the evaluation of teachers, the corporate perspective is entirely different! In my decade as a corporate lecturer, each course is promptly followed by a teaching evaluation. Moreover, corporations take this matter seriously, considering the evaluation scores as a reference for inviting the teacher for future sessions. Several local studies, including interviews with HR directors about corporate training (including a study by Louis), have all pointed out the same thing: HR directors view a score of 4.3 to 4.5 as the passing mark for instructors! If a teacher's evaluation score falls below 4.3, they might not collaborate with this lecturer in the future!
What's even more terrifying is that if the evaluation score is low, most HR departments choose 'not' to inform the lecturer, nor do they offer them an opportunity to improve or explain! They just directly terminate the partnership! Hence, I've previously stated, "In the long run, there are no bad corporate lecturers... because the bad ones have all disappeared!" So, a truly effective and useful teacher evaluation will inevitably intertwine with the market elimination mechanism, otherwise, it makes no difference whether or not the evaluation is conducted!
So, since evaluation is the job of the training unit or HR, what should the lecturer know? It's necessary to reiterate the old saying: Including evaluation, the aim of all teaching techniques is to enhance the effectiveness of teaching. And for teacher evaluations, it's also for the teachers to have a reference point, to know how they are performing? What areas can be improved in the future? Therefore, regarding teacher evaluations, I have three small suggestions to offer:
1. Correct Standard
The assessment criteria should mainly follow a 5-point scale: In the past, I've seen 10-point scales (full marks 1~,7-point scales,5-point scales, and score scales (0～100 for scoring). My personal suggestion is to primarily use a five-point scale! The more refined the scale, the higher the difficulty of distinguishing, such as the 10-point scale, the difference between 8 and 9...requires some expertise to discern. Therefore, I suggest using a five-point scale, with at least 5 points (very satisfied),4points (satisfied), and 3 points (average). These are relatively easy to differentiate. The design of scales is further discussed in professional research methods, which we won't delve into here.
2. Correct Interpretation
Once you receive the evaluation results, you should interpret them accurately. Scores aren't for self-congratulation or reflection, but rather to let you know: How do learners evaluate our performance this time? Therefore, accurate interpretation is essential! My personal experience: a score of 4.5 is passing! Yes, you read it right! For a professional lecturer,4.5is the passing mark! This is similar to Uber's driver satisfaction standards, which also require a score of 4.5 to pass! This means that among all the students, half need to score 5 points (very satisfied) and half need to score 4 points (satisfied) to meet the passing standard!
If it's a good course, I would expect to see scores of 4.7~4.8. If you want to use it as self-motivation and a pursuit, then a full course (at least one item of satisfaction scoring full points of 5), or a 100% full course (every scoring item gets full points of 5), is the standard you are pursuing! (Just this morning, I saw MJ get his 12th perfect NPS score of 2018!). Of course, this is challenging, you can give it a try ... when do you plan to get your perfect course score!
3. Equal Emphasis on Qualitative and Quantitative
In addition to quantitative indicators like scores, qualitative feedback is also a crucial element! Under most lecturer rating forms, there will be a column for feedback or suggestions on the teacher's teaching, or to ask what the students learned the most or the key takeaways. I believe this is also an important reference point, from which much information that can't be discerned from scores can be gathered.
I know you must be thinking, "But the students don't write anything!" This problem can be easily solved, just "remind the students"! At the end of the course, when everyone starts to fill in the feedback form, I always say, "Please take some time to fill in the feedback form, especially the blank space at the bottom. If you have any learning insights or suggestions, we would really like to know!" Generally, I would add, "Your feedback can be anonymous or not, we just want to know your most honest opinions!" This reminder will significantly increase the willingness of students to provide qualitative feedback! And these remarks are important references for teachers to make improvements in the future!
For evalution to teachers, I hope every teachers can take serious on it. Evalution is like thermometer allow us to know our teaching is hot or cold. If it's hot, maybe we can let it cool down. If it's cold, maybe we can let it warmer. Instead of criticize, evalution is for improve. So, set high standards for yourself, using the right indicators, the correct interpretation, and emphasizing both quality and quantity. By doing so, you can turn assessments into the best references, allowing you to improve on your teaching journey!
As for the other meaning of E: Evolution, let's discuss that in the next article!
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