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A Criterion-Referenced Approach to Student Ratings of Instruction

J. Patrick Meyer (), Justin B. Doromal, Xiaoxin Wei and Shi Zhu
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J. Patrick Meyer: University of Virginia
Justin B. Doromal: University of Virginia
Xiaoxin Wei: University of Virginia
Shi Zhu: University of Virginia

Research in Higher Education, 2017, vol. 58, issue 5, 545-567

Abstract: Abstract We developed a criterion-referenced student rating of instruction (SRI) to facilitate formative assessment of teaching. It involves four dimensions of teaching quality that are grounded in current instructional design principles: Organization and structure, Assessment and feedback, Personal interactions, and Academic rigor. Using item response theory and Wright mapping methods, we describe teaching characteristics at various points along the latent continuum for each scale. These maps enable criterion-referenced score interpretation by making an explicit connection between test performance and the theoretical framework. We explain the way our Wright maps can be used to enhance an instructor’s ability to interpret scores and identify ways to refine teaching. Although our work is aimed at improving score interpretation, a criterion-referenced test is not immune to factors that may bias test scores. The literature on SRIs is filled with research on factors unrelated to teaching that may bias scores. Therefore, we also used multilevel models to evaluate the extent to which student and course characteristic may affect scores and compromise score interpretation. Results indicated that student anger and the interaction between student gender and instructor gender are significant effects that account for a small amount of variance in SRI scores. All things considered, our criterion-referenced approach to SRIs is a viable way to describe teaching quality and help instructors refine pedagogy and facilitate course development.

Keywords: Criterion-referenced assessment; Teaching quality; Student ratings of instruction; Item response theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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