Teaching Assistant Evaluation: Providing Tools and Opportunity for Development as an Educator

Session Format Discussion/Demonstration of Process
Author(s) Teaching Assistant Evaluation Committee: Alex MacIntosh, Jenn Tomasone, Jason Au, Kinga Eliasz, Patrick McPhee, Michael Sonne, & Jessie Stapleton Kinesiology
Session Abstract

In response to Teaching Assistants (TAs) expressing interest in receiving feedback about their performance, The Kinesiology TA Evaluation Committee was formed in fall 2012. The Committee is using Google Drive to enable TAs to receive voluntary feedback from students in undergraduate classes. The goal is to provide TAs with tools to identify their strengths and weaknesses, become better educators, and chronicle their development as instructors.

To ensure that the TA evaluation does not conflict with any current departmental processes (e.g., instructor evaluations or administrative duties) a student-driven evaluation process was established. Google Drive was selected as the evaluation platform as all students automatically have access through their McMaster e-mail account. Google Drive allows for the development and dissemination of a template that can be personalized by each TA. Google Drive will be used to distribute the Standard Operating Procedure to the TAs (containing the consent form, and the survey construction and distribution instructions) as well as the evaluations to the undergraduate students completing them.

Google Drive offers the ability to distribute a template document that can be customized by each TA. When distributed anonymous results are returned to the TA and a graphical distribution of responses is also available. Through this method TAs have an excellent opportunity to learn about effective instruction strategies, and where their strengths and weaknesses lay.

All 24 TAs (39.3% response rate) and 70 undergraduate students (18.6% response rate) who completed pilot testing support the use of Google Drive for the evaluation process, and believe the survey assesses key values of a TA.

The development of this TA evaluation process has been accepted by the CUPE Union, the Kinesiology Graduate Curriculum & Policy Committee, and the Department's Executive Council. The Committee expects the process to be a valuable resource for TAs looking to develop in their careers as educators. The first official implementation of the TA evaluations will take place in fall 2013.

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