The viewpoint of paramedical students’ of Urmia University of Medical Sciences about the influential factors on teachers’ evaluation

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Para medical School, Urmia University of Medical Sciences, Uromia, IRAN

Abstract

Teachers are evaluated in different ways. However, the most prevalent and controversial method is teacher evaluation by students. The present study was targeted at the examination of students’ view on the teachers’ evaluation criteria.

Methods: The population of this descriptive cross-sectional study was 107 students of Paramedical Faculty of Urmia University of Medical Sciences that two of them were excluded from the study since their questionnaires were damaged. The collected data obtained from the questionnaires were analyzed using SPSS software.

Results: The current investigation revealed that the majority of students (79%) considered “Respectful treatment of teacher with the students” as the most important criterion of teacher evaluation. The criteria of “Teacher’s mastery of scientific concepts and materials” and “The teacher’s ability to present and convey the course materials” composed, respectively, 77.1% and 73.3% of students’ next preferences. “Paying attention to the class duration by the teacher” was the last criterion that attracted the least amount of students’ attention (24.8%) to itself.

Discussion and Conclusion: According to students’ viewpoint, the criterion of “Respectful treatment of teacher with the students” has a fairly high importance which emphasizes teachers’ responsibility for paying attention to appropriate behavior. The results of this study can be used to achieve educational goals and improve quality of education

Keywords


Introduction

In the twenty-first century, the role of a university professor is providing the educational opportunities for the trainees with a direct relationship rather than the word-by-word education. Therefore, the presence of the academic staffs and faculty members can have a crucial role in that regard. Higher education systems have the main responsibility in training and supplying efficient human resources since they are the most obvious phenomena of investment in human resources. Moreover, these systems allocate a significant portion of the country budget and have a determining role in various economic, social, cultural and political aspects of the community. In this regard, it seems necessary to ascertain the optimum quality of their performance in order to avoid wasting human and material resources; and to know the ability to compete in the future world where quality is the most important component for the survival of any organization (1). Accordingly, the input quality can represent the educational system quality. Learners, teachers and curriculums are three possible important inputs; therefore, assessing each of these factors can have a significant impact on the quality of the educational system (2 & 3). Evaluation can be used in a myriad of ways which include determining the value, merit, and the importance of an educational phenomenon in order for judging and decision making to establish a system of planning, continuity of the activities, and adjustment of the system, the authentication of the system, understanding its different aspects and supporting the system (4) while the main objective of evaluating the education process is helping teachers to improve teaching methods and activities, and assisting managers to make sensible decisions about teachers’ hiring and promotion, and ultimately, the improvement of education as a career (5).

Teachers’ evaluation at universities is carried out in different ways such as evaluation by the students, heads of department, colleagues, faculty administrators, self-evaluation, and so on. One of the most common methods of evaluating in many countries, including Iran, is evaluation by students (6 & 7) which is underscored more and more nowadays as it is employed in all the colleges and universities of America and perhaps it is the main resource for evaluating the teaching performance of academic staff (8). To confirm this view, the results of a study on the consequences of students’ feedback demonstrated that teachers take their students’ opinions into consideration and try to resolve the problems mentioned by the students (9). Although the results of the evaluations by students plays a very important role in the evaluation of the educational quality, their credit and durability suffer from some ambiguities and many factors are mentioned as the Bias of the evaluation results. In this regard, some of the researches indicate that teacher characteristics such as gender, experience, teaching method, and academic degree can influence the results of the evaluations conducted by the students (10 & 11). In addition, in other studies, the personal features of the students such as their view about the teachers, gender, grade point average (GPA), and age have been introduced as the other influential factors (12-14) so that the validity of the evaluation of teachers by students is constantly under discussion of scientific communities (14). Therefore, some of the researchers have shown concerns regarding the teacher evaluation by the students and believe that the obtained results are unfair due to extraneous factors. In fact, they believe that the evaluation not only cannot lead to the improvement of the education quality, but it will lead to the academic failure as well (16). Thus the opponents of the evaluation believe that students’ evaluation is subjective and, as a result, it lacks the required validity while proponents argue that students have some sort of meta-evaluation that makes their evaluation of teachers correct (16). Accordingly, Aultman believes that teacher evaluation by students can be a valuable source of feedback for them to improve teaching quality. He also has a particular faith in the formative evaluation of academic faculty members by the students, and hence it is valuable for providing immediate feedback that leads to an appropriate opportunity of improving teaching method as well as improving learning in the trainees (17). On the other hand, Greenwood disagrees with the evaluation of teachers by the learners and believes that individuals’ characters and general environmental properties are influential on their perception and judgment and there is not any reason for the students to be error-free in their evaluation of their teachers and professors (19). Considering the importance of the issue, great deal of researches has been carried out to identify the factors influencing the student-based teacher evaluation (20 & 21). The findings of the studies demonstrate that teachers’ teaching method, power of expression, academic ability, patience, behavior (19) as well as teachers’ communication skills and appearance adornment, humor with students (7, 21, 22), personality characteristics, academic information, teaching method, class management power (22-24), expression power, the ability to convey the concepts of the lessons and individual and behavior features (24, 23) are among the most important factors influencing the students evaluation of teachers. Considering the importance of this issue in improving the teaching quality and providing the appropriate atmosphere for the heads of departments to take the required decisions on different aspects of teacher evaluation for the purpose of improvement and the enhancement of the teaching quality, and with respect to the lack of such a study in the paramedical faculty of Urmia University of Medical Sciences, the current study that aims at examining the factors influencing their evaluation has been carried out in the 1389-1390 academic year.

Methods and Materials:

This descriptive cross-sectional study was performed at Urmia University of Medical Sciences with the participation of paramedical faculty students, who were studying in their second semester or the subsequent ones. The criteria for data collection was a questionnaire composed of two parts, the first part was related to the students' demographic information and the second part consisted of 14 questions, and each question had 5 answers, namely Very High (5), High (4), No comment (3) ، Low (2) and Very Low (1). The questions were across different domains and related to the factors associated with educational activities and teaching skills, teacher’s personality characteristics, assessment method during the term, physical characteristics and time that somehow can be effective in the evaluation by students. The questionnaire was designed using articles and other related resources. Since the nature of some of theoretical and practical lessons is different, it has been tried to include almost general questions in the questionnaire that are required for teaching of all these courses. Validity of the questionnaire has been approved by three experts and its reliability with Cronbach's alpha coefficient was 0.86. The questionnaire was distributed among the paramedical students at Urmia University of Medical Sciences and the students were asked to carefully and accurately complete the questionnaire and return it to the researcher. Participating in the study was voluntarily and the information was supposed to be confidential. After collection, data were analyzed descriptively using SPSS.18 software.

Results:

From among all the students whom the questionnaire was distributed among, 107 questionnaires were returned while two of them were excluded from the study due to being damaged. In this regard, the most students that participated in the study are 43.8% of Laboratory Science students, 22.9% of Operating Room students, 17.1% of Pediatric Anesthesiology students, 9.5% of Radiology and 6.7% of Health Information Technology students, respectively. Moreover, among the students in this evaluation, 69.5% were female and 24.8% were male. The majority of students participating in this evaluation were undergraduate students and GPA of more than 46.6% of the participants was 16 and mostly more than 15 (Table 1).

As it is shown in Table 2, in the domain related to teaching skills and using the teaching methods, 77.5% of the students considered the academic dominance of teachers on scientific concepts and lesson content to be more effective, 73.3% thought of teacher’s ability to present and convey the lesson concepts to be influential, 62.9% of them considered the compilation of texts and appropriate educational pamphlets or the introduction of the appropriate resource materials as effective, 54.6% of students thought of using appropriate and various methods to convey the lesson concepts to be very important, and 42.9% considered the use of teaching aids (whiteboard and PowerPoint slides) to be influential. In the domain of teacher’s individual skill and behavior, 79% of students studying at the paramedical faculty of Urmia University of Medical Sciences highlighted the respectful treatment of teacher with students, 61.9% considered the teacher’s ability in motivating the students to learn and study more, 59% of them took teacher’s interest in his own academic subject, desire to teach, and students’ learning into consideration, 35.2% of the students regarded the ability of teacher to make students participate in the class discussions and activation of students, and finally, 31.4% of them mentioned teacher’s supervision of students’ presence in the classroom to be highly or very highly influential. In addition, in the domain of physical characteristics, for 50.5% of the participants teachers’ punctuality was important, and for 24.8% of them, attending to the duration of the class was very influential or very much influential. Regarding the evaluation of student learning during the semester using the appropriate questions, students’ evaluation of High, Very High, No Comment, Low and Very Low were 41.9, 28.6, 12.4, 10.5, 6.7 percent, respectively. In general, the effectiveness degree of the above mentioned cases was ranged from High to Very High in the evaluation of teachers by students.

Discussion:

Teacher evaluation is a process that aims to boost the quality of teaching and learning in most of the universities that the results are informed to the teachers in order to give the necessary feedback. Therefore, from paramedical students’ perspective at Urmia University of Medical Sciences, numerous factors are important in different domains of teachers’ evaluation by students. The findings of the current study indicated that teacher’s mastery of scientific concepts and course content, their ability to present and convey the lesson concepts were the most important and effective factors in the field of teaching skills and methods of the evaluation were highly important. Unlike the present study that introduced the teaching skills and methods as the most important factors in the evaluation, the study conducted by Mahmoudi et al. revealed that 43.3 percent of students introduced the teachers’ good teaching technique to be influential in the evaluation (7). By comparing the results of the present study with the research conducted by Vakili et al. showed that teaching method and skill and teacher’s scientific strength were the most important factors influencing their evaluation (26). It was also observed that a teacher will face problems if he does not have the ability to convey the lesson concepts well enough, even if he has the sufficient scientific mastery because these two influential factors are complementary and the absence of one of them will affect the evaluation. Confirming the obtained results in the field of teaching skill, the study by Ghorbani et al. proved that teacher’s mastery, speech fluency, mode of organization, lesson planning and teaching interests are, respectively, the most important characteristics of a good educator (23). On the other hand, this study showed that the type of teacher evaluation by the student during a semester is also another effective factor in the teacher evaluation. In this vein, Seif believes that the type and level of difficulty of the subject matter can influence the way that students evaluate their teachers (21). Furthermore, the research by Amini et al. revealed that 60.9 percent of the students rated the strict teachers with low grades (7) while in the study done in Shahrekord, the factors such as strictness, the higher control of teachers over students in classes and at exam sessions were not regarded as the confounding factor in the analysis of the results of the faculty members’ evaluation (26). On the other hand, the respectful treatment of teachers towards students, teachers’ ability for motivating students to learn and more study, expressing the interest to his academic discipline, and enthusiasm towards teaching and students’ learning are introduced as the effective factors in the domain of personal characteristics of the teacher. In support of this view, the study by Crumbley et al. demonstrated that for 88% of students, teaching method, speech skill, seriousness, organization of material, fairness of grading, students' motivation and learning of the content by students were very important (14). Amini et al. also showed that 76.6% of students believe that teacher's communication skills are effective in their evaluation (7). With respect to the physical characteristics and time, Paramedical students at Urmia University of Medical Sciences recognized teacher’s punctuality and, to a great extent, observing the length of class time to be influential which is consistent with Marufi et al.’s findings (1). Therefore, it seems that, physical characteristics and timing can affect students’ evaluation of their teachers. Thus, in sum, it can be stated that in this study, students agreed with generalities of teachers’ evaluation and regarded it as very effective to improve the quality of teaching.

Conclusion:

Since students are the only ones that are taught directly by teachers and the evaluation of training activities for students are considered important elements and since some of the peripheral factors effects such as physical elements and time of the course can influence evaluation by students, providing favorable conditions for teaching students by the educational administration is proposed so that effort and hard work of teachers are not affected by peripheral factors. It is also suggested that the research findings in different areas of the country be investigated and a systematic and detailed questionnaire for evaluating teachers be designed so that the problems caused by different research results from different universities of the country can be eliminated. In this vein, the experience of other countries can be also utilized. Therefore, it is suggested that a committee be formed by the Ministry of Health and Medical Education in this regard and by using new methods, and developing valid and reliable tools be able to take a step towards improving the quality of education with the help of authorities and provision of proper conditions.

Table 1: Demographic information of the students taken part in the evaluation

Percent

Frequency (f)

Table 1

69.5%

73

Female

Gender

24.8%

26

Male

46.7%

49

16-17

Mean

20.0%

21

17-18

18.1%

19

15-16

6.7%

7

18-19

5.7%

6

14-15

2%

2

19-20

1%

1

13-14

Table 2: Frequency distribution on the basis of number and the percent of answers by Paramedical students studying at Urmia University of Medical Sciences to the teacher evaluation questions

 

 

Very low

Low

No comment

high

Very high

Table 2

(%)

n

(%)

n

(%)

n

(%)

n

(%)

n

(1.9)

2

(1.0)

1

(4.8)

5

(41.1)

44

(50.5)

53

Teacher’s attendance in class at the appointed time

(1.9)

2

(4.8)

5

(9.5)

10

(59.0)

62

(24.8)

26

Paying attention to the class duration by the teacher

(6.7)

7

(9.5)

10

(11.4)

12

(41)

43

(31.4)

33

Teacher’s supervision of students’ presence in the classroom

(0.0)

0.0

(1.0)

1

(1.9)

2

(18.1)

19

(79)

83

Respectful treatment of teacher with the students

(0.0)

0.0

(1.9)

2

(7.6)

8

(31.4)

33

(59.0)

62

Expressing their interest in their discipline and showing enthusiasm for teaching and student learning

(0.0)

0.0

(1.9)

2

(5.7)

6

(38.1)

40

(54.3)

57

Using appropriate methods for conveying the related information

(6.7)

7

(10.5)

11

(12.4)

13

(41.9)

44

(28.6)

30

Assessing students’ learning throughout the term by appropriate questioning

(1.0)

1

(0.0)

0.0

(6.7)

7

(37.1)

39

(55.2)

58

Conveying subject matter material in an applicable manner and with suitable examples

(0.0)

0.0

(1.0)

1

(1.0)

1

(35.2)

37

(62.9)

66

Providing appropriate teaching texts and pamphlets or introduction of appropriate resources

(0.0)

0.0

(1.9)

2

(7.6)

8

(47.6)

50

(42.9)

45

Teacher’s use of educational aids

(Board and slide), if necessary

(0.0)

0.0

(1.0)

1

(1.0)

1

(21.0)

22

(77.1)

81

Teacher’s mastery of scientific concepts and materials

(0.0)

0.0

(2.9)

3

(7.6)

8

(27.6)

29

(61.9)

65

The teacher's ability to motivate students to study and learn more

(0.0)

0.0

(1.9)

2

(3.8)

4

(21.0)

22

(73.3)

77

The teacher’s ability to present and convey the course materials

(3.8)

4

(3.8)

4

(13.3)

14

(43.8)

46

(35.2)

37

The teacher’s ability to activate students and engage them in classroom discussions

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