A growing body of literature has identified student evaluations of teaching (SETs) as introducing bias against minority faculty members and not serving as a reliable or valid measure of teaching effectiveness. This lack of reliability and validity presents issues for university tenure and promotion committees, as these institutional processes necessarily require accurate, objective, and holistically informed modes of evaluation to recognize teaching achievements. Summative peer review of teaching (SPRT) is an alternative mode of assessment that aims to provide evidence of teaching effectiveness to inform promotion and tenure. SPRT, as an institutional practice, has been adopted at a small cohort of institutions of higher education, marking a potential shift in practice. This article examines SETs to articulate the problematic elements introduced by SETs, specifically to examine if SPRT can serve as a viable alternative. By describing the SPRT processes that four institutions have taken, the authors aim to articulate these emerging approaches to collecting evidence of teaching effectiveness. In this descriptive work, it is our secondary contention that SPRT, through intentional design and facilitation, can offer a process that does not introduce bias in the same way as SETs and thus, can also be used to satisfy the growing need for practices that help achieve, in part, institutional goals related to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).
Both school and district administrators use the results of standardized, large-scale tests to inform decisions about the need for, or success of, educational programs and interventions. However, test results at the school level are subject to random fluctuations due to changes in cohort, test items, and other factors outside of the school’s control. This study examined year to year changes in school level results on standardized tests delivered in Ontario, Canada. G-theory analyses found that test scores are not stable enough for meaningful conclusions to be made based on year to year changes in school level results. For small and medium sized schools, years of data need to be collected before defensible decisions can be made about trends in test scores. The authors introduce a ‘bounce’ statistic that provides a simple, easy to interpret measure of test score stability.
Labour strife in the education sector in Ontario has repeatedly highlighted the precariousness of certain types of teaching and learning that are delivered under the catch-all designation extracurricular. This paper reviews education legislation in Ontario over the past 40 years that has impacted teachers’ right to strike; examines how teacher unions and the provincial government targeted extracurricular activities during collective bargaining; and considers how extracurricular activities have come to be an expected part of public education.
Student ratings of instruction (SRI) are commonly used to evaluate courses and teaching in higher education. Much debate about their validity in evaluating teaching exists, which is due to concerns of bias by factors unrelated to teaching quality (Spooren et al., 2013). Our objective was to identify peer-reviewed original research published in English from January 1, 2012, to March 10, 2021, on potential sources of bias in SRIs. Our systematic review of 63 articles demonstrated strong support for the continued existence of gender bias, favoring male instructors and bias against faculty with minority ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These and other biases must be considered when implementing SRIs and reviewing results. Critical practices for reducing bias when using SRIs include implementing bias awareness training and avoiding use of SRIs as a singular measure of teaching quality when making decisions for teaching development or hiring and promotion.
A case study using mixed methods that critically appraises the implementation of a mental health policy in higher education in the absence of evidence to inform the policy using an exemplar case from one mid-sized post-secondary institution was the motivation for this research. Explanation building was used to iteratively analyse data on rival explanations of the implementation of the fall break policy. Analyses from the surveys revealed that overall, only 36.9 per cent of students perceived an increase in workload before the break and only 29.6 per cent of students perceived an increase in workload after the break. However, the focus groups and professor interviews revealed that the timing of the fall break had an impact on how students and professors experienced the break and their perceptions on its impact on student mental health. If baseline data regarding the implementation of the fall break would have been collected prior to its implementation, we could have possibly avoided the implementation issues that arose. While this research provides an exemplar case of a fall break policy at one post-secondary institution, the policy learning is universal.
There are growing demands to proactively support students with disabilities in postsecondary education. This article examines a mixed-methods study with accessibility consultants and other faculty in a community college pilot program focussed on redesigning courses to increase inclusiveness. Findings highlight the successful and well-received role of the accessibility consultants collaborating in redesign triads. Challenges experienced by accessibility consultants are also discussed, for example, around time allocation for this type of work along with their daily support of students. Recommendations for accessibility consultants involvement in expanding inclusive course redesigns are made, such as, including them more in the process of curriculum design and ensuring appropriate time for their participation.
La demande d’un soutien proactif des étudiants ayant une incapacité se fait de plus en plus pressante dans l’enseignement postsecondaire. Le présent article porte sur une étude où des conseillers et conseillères en besoins spéciaux ainsi que d’autres membres du personnel ont employé diverses méthodes dans le cadre d’un projet pilote axé sur la refonte de cours visant à accroître l’inclusivité. L’étude montre que la collaboration des conseillers et conseillères en besoins spéciaux est fructueuse et bien acceptée au sein des équipes. Il y est aussi question des défis à surmonter de la part des conseillers et conseillères, dont le temps à accorder à ce travail dans le cadre de leur soutien quotidien offert aux étudiants. Des recommandations y sont faites touchant la participation des conseillers et conseillères en besoins spéciaux à la refonte de cours inclusifs, dont celles de les inclure davantage dans la conception des programmes d’études et de veiller à ce qu’ils en aient le temps.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented disruption to education and schooling at the end of the 2019-20 school year. Operating in a context of great uncertainty, education leaders were tasked with making key decisions with potentially far-reaching impacts on the educational and mental and physical health of students and families. Drawing on 9 cross-sectoral focus groups with school board administrators, representatives from education industry partners, and K-12 educational policy research organizations, this paper provides a historical record of the evolution of decision-making and points to promising lines of inquiry and lessons that can be learned from this moment in education.