Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evaluating Good Teaching

I got caught up in a bit of a discussion about evaluating teaching via an email list that I'm on. I tend to avoid sharing my truly innovative ideas with people who might take them the wrong way.

Allow me to tell you about my proposal for evaluating teaching effectiveness in calculus.
  1. Prepare list of learning objectives for the course.

  2. Teach calculus to the "treatment" groups (different instructors). Keep track of how much time the students spend in and out of class working on learning calculus. Give them an exam at the end of the course. Keep track of how well they do in the next course in the calculus sequence. At some point in the future give them another exam covering calculus.

  3. Give the list to the control group. This group should be as closely matched as possible to the treatment groups (same SAT scores, demographics, majors, etc.). Tell them that 14 weeks from now they will take an exam in calculus and that the results will go on their transcripts. Leave them alone. Keep track of how much time they spend learning calculus, their scores on the exam, how well they do in the next course in the calculus sequence, and their scores on some future calculus exam.

  4. Anyone whose students consistently do worse than the control group on all the various measures should not get tenure.