Measuring Teaching Quality

Alex Usher, Higher Education Strategy Associates, Aug 17, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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The problem with assessing anything - including (but not limited to) teaching - is that while it's tempting to employ an index of indicators, quality teaching (and anything else) is not reducible to these indicators. Nor, for that matter, is it necessarily any easier to measure each index value than it is the practice in the first place. As a case in point, we have Alex Usher, who recommends that we assess quality teaching in Ontario with reference to Chickering & Gamson’s classic Seven Principles for Good Practice. Nobody particularly objects to the index (insofar as we are referring to classroom teaching). But quality in teaching is not limited to these seven principles, nor is it explained by these principles. And it's just as hard to measure "develops reciprocity and cooperation among students" as it is to measure "quality teaching". Usher suggests we "ask students about whether they see those practices in the classroom." It's hard to believe this would be a reliable indicator. Image: TES.

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