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Assessing Higher Education Teachers through Peer Assistance and Review

Assessing Higher Education Teachers through Peer Assistance and Review

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Published by Carlo Magno
The present study advances the practice of assessing teacher performance by constructing a
rubric that is systematically anchored on an amalgamated professional practice and learnercentered
framework (see Magno & Sembrano, 2009). The validity and reliability of the
rubric was determined using both classical test theory and item response theory, and
implications for a new way of looking at the function of teacher performance assessment
results for higher education institutions. The rubric used by fellow teachers is called the
“Peer Assistance and Review Form” (PARF). The items reflect learner-centered practices
with four domains anchored on Danielson‟s Components of Professional Practice
principles: Planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional
responsibility. The rubric was pilot tested with 183 higher education faculty. The
participants were observed by two raters in their class. Concordance of the two raters was
established across the four domains (ω=.47, pitems was obtained using Cronbach‟s alpha. The four-factor structure of the domains was
established in a measurement model using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The Polytomous
Rasch Model (Rating Scale Analysis) showed appropriateness of the step calibration of the
four point scale and the fit of the items in the rubric.
The present study advances the practice of assessing teacher performance by constructing a
rubric that is systematically anchored on an amalgamated professional practice and learnercentered
framework (see Magno & Sembrano, 2009). The validity and reliability of the
rubric was determined using both classical test theory and item response theory, and
implications for a new way of looking at the function of teacher performance assessment
results for higher education institutions. The rubric used by fellow teachers is called the
“Peer Assistance and Review Form” (PARF). The items reflect learner-centered practices
with four domains anchored on Danielson‟s Components of Professional Practice
principles: Planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional
responsibility. The rubric was pilot tested with 183 higher education faculty. The
participants were observed by two raters in their class. Concordance of the two raters was
established across the four domains (ω=.47, pitems was obtained using Cronbach‟s alpha. The four-factor structure of the domains was
established in a measurement model using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The Polytomous
Rasch Model (Rating Scale Analysis) showed appropriateness of the step calibration of the
four point scale and the fit of the items in the rubric.

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Published by: Carlo Magno on Jun 30, 2013
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104
The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment 
 
January 2012, Vol. 9(2)
 
© 2012 Time Taylor Academic Journals
ISSN 2094-0734
Assessing Higher Education Teachers through Peer Assistance and Review
Carlo Magno
De La Salle University, Manila 
Abstract
The present study advances the practice of assessing teacher performance by constructing a rubric that is systematically anchored on an amalgamated professional practice and learner-centered framework (see Magno & Sembrano, 2009). The validity and reliability of therubric was determined using both classical test theory and item response theory, andimplications for a new way of looking at the function of teacher performance assessment results for higher education institutions. The rubric used by fellow teachers is called the
“Peer Assistance and Review Form” (PARF). The items reflect learner
-centered practices
 with four domains anchored on Danielson‟s Components of Professional Practice
principles: Planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professionalresponsibility. The rubric was pilot tested with 183 higher education faculty. Theparticipants were observed by two raters in their class. Concordance of the two raters wasestablished across the four domains (
ω
=.47,
 p 
<.01). High internal consistency among the
items was obtained using Cronbach‟s alpha. The four
-factor structure of the domains wasestablished in a measurement model using Confirmatory Factor Analysis. The PolytomousRasch Model (Rating Scale Analysis) showed appropriateness of the step calibration of thefour point scale and the fit of the items in the rubric.
Keywords:
 
Peer assistance and Review, teacher assessment, Danielson‟s components of 
professional practice, learner-centered
Introduction
In order to
have a valid assessment of teachers‟ performance, different 
stakeholders should contribute in the assessment process. External raters, including 
students, are often used to assess teachers‟ performance (Allison
-Jones & Hirt,2004; Centra, 1998; Heckert, Latier, Ringwald, & Silvey, 2006; Howard, Helms, &Lawrence, 1997; Tang, 1997; Marsh & Bailey, 1993; Pike, 1998; Scriven, 1994;Stringer & Irwing, 1998; Young & Shaw, 1999), peer ratings (Goldstein, 2004;Graves, Sulewski, Dye, Deveans, Agras, & Person, 2009; Kell & Annetts, 2009;Magno & Sembrano, 2009; Reid 2008), and accreditation bodies (Gosling, 2002;Ross, Hogaboam-Gray, McDougall, & Bruce, 2002). Another aspect of assessing teachers performance is through self-assessment that includes teaching portfolios(Graves, Sulewski, Dye, Deveans, Agras, & Person, 2009; Stolle, Goerss, & Watkins 2005; Wray 2008), self-evaluation checklists (Bruce & Ross, 2008). Self-
reflection on one‟s teaching is another popular method (Bruce & Ross 2008;
Graves, Sulewski, Dye, Deveans, Agras, & Person, 2009). The students andteachers in higher education are considered as direct stakeholders in the account of 
teachers‟ performance because they are the primary witnesses and recipients of the
teaching and learning process. While the use of students as raters of their faculty inhigher education is relatively common, there is less support for the use of peers as
raters. Peer assistance and review or peer review, or teacher peer coaching occurs‟
 when a teacher is observed by another teacher for a specific purpose (Goldstein,
 
105
The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment 
 
January 2012, Vol. 9(2)
 
© 2012 Time Taylor Academic Journals
ISSN 2094-0734
2004; Kerchner & Koppich 1993; Bruce & Ross, 2008). Peer evaluations in
teaching are described as “involving teachers in the summative [also formative]evaluation of other teachers” (Goldstein, 2004, p. 397). It 
 was further described by 
Graves, Sulewski, Dye, Deveans, Agras, and Person (2009, p. 186) as “evaluating one‟s peers allow the assessment of one‟s teaching by another person who hassimilar experience and goals”. A more explicit definition was provided by 
Bruceand Ross (2008, p. 350) about peer evaluation, they described it as:a structured approach for building a community in which pairs of teachers of similar experience and competence observe each otherteach, establish improvement goals, develop strategies to implement goals, observe one another during the revised teaching, and providespecific feedback.The purposes of rating teachers, such as hiring, clinical supervision, andmodeling,
are best facilitated using peer evaluations. Teachers‟ performance
frompeer reviews should be conceptualized with the aim of helping teachers to improvetheir teaching rather than solely pointing out their mistakes (Oakland &Hambleton, 2006; Stiggins, 2008). It is described as a constructive process wherethe peer aims to provide assistance to a less experienced teacher in improving theirinstruction with a focus on student-teacher interaction. Blackmore (2005) reiteratedthe constructive idea of peer review where the aim of assessing teachers shouldbring about changes and improvement in the practice of teaching.Goldstein (2003) indicates that there is a need for extensive research in thearea of peer assessment of teacher performance especially with regard toimplementation issues. The present study constructed an instrument that serves thepurpose of peer assistance and review for higher education faculty. This instrument  will be carried out by faculty peers that serve to provide feedback for the faculty inhigher education.
Teachers‟ View of Peer Review
 
Peer
review of teachers‟ performance is defined and described with several
intentions but the teachers who are constantly observed create their own views.These views are described in studies as thoughts and perceptions created by teachers as part of the process. Views were also quantitatively assessed using attitudescales reflecting certain components such as general attitudes and domain specificattitude (Wen, Tsai, & Chang 2006).
The teacher‟s view about their fellow teachers‟ assessment was shown in the
study of Kell and Annetts (2009) where they invited teaching staffs to verbalize theirperceptions about the Peer Review of Teaching (PRT) and clarify issues. Theteaching staffs were asked to provide their personal reflections about the PRT.They found that giving the teaching staff ownership of the PRT makes themautonomous and develop flexibility in the process. In terms of rationale andpurpose of the PRT, the staff saw it to be formative and useful for personal andprofessional development, while the newer staff viewed it as summative and audit-like. The ethics behind PRT included comments like lack of time and the review being potentially biased that they do not like to participate. The affective issues
 
106
The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment 
 
January 2012, Vol. 9(2)
 
© 2012 Time Taylor Academic Journals
ISSN 2094-0734
 were complaints about pulling of ranks and undercurrents of power gains. On theother hand, the study by Atwood, Taylor, and Hutchings (2000) on the peer review teaching program for science professors was able to identify the barriers for thepeer review practice. The barriers include: (1) fear, (2) uncertainty about what should be reviewed, and (3) how the process is reviewed. A more positive approach to studying peer reviews was conducted by Carter(2008). He presented useful ways for peer reviewers to enrich the peer review process. The tips are meant to make the review as pleasant as possible: (1)understand alternative views of teaching and learning; (2) prepare seriously for pre- visit interview; (3) listen carefully to what the students says in the pre-visit interview;(4) watch the students not just the teacher. The views by Carter (2008) providealternative ways of implementing the peer review process that focus more on theconstructive aspect.Milanowsi (2006) explained that peer review can become more constructive when peers discuss performance problems and suggestions (without theresponsibility for making an administrative evaluation, evaluators will be able toprovide more assistance toward improving performance). It is constructive whenthe function of the review is split into administrative and developmental. Thedevelopmental evaluation and feedback is provided by a peer mentor, whileadministrative evaluation by managers and peer evaluators, or a combined rolegroup, in which developmental evaluation, feedback, and administrative evaluation were provided by a peer. The views of the teachers in the study about the peerreview showed that ratees in the split role group were slightly less open todiscussions of problems or weaknesses than those in the combined role group. Theresults of the interview showed that a larger proportion of those in the split rolegroup reported being comfortable discussing their problems or weaknesses thanthose in the combined group. However, the difference is small. The study by Keig (2000) determined the perceptions of the faculty on several factors that might detract from and/or enhance their likelihood to take part in formative peer review of teaching. They also determined the perception of faculty how peer assessment might benefit the faculty, colleagues, students, and the institution. They found that the more the faculty is willing to participate in the peer review, the less likely they  would become a detractor to the faculty. This indicates that the faculty who engagesin peer reviews has good intentions for their fellow faculty.
Effects of Peer Reviews of Teaching
Different studies have shown that when peer reviews are intended for a positive and constructive approach, it can be beneficial for its intended outcomes(Bruce & Ross, 2009; Reid, 2008; Bernstein & Bass, 2000; Blackmore, 2005; Yon,Burnap, & Kohut, 2002; Kumrow & Dahlem, 2002). For example, an anonymous writer (2006) reported that when the peer assistance and review was implementedstatewide in Canada, it reinforced the value for teaching as a highly skilled vocation,it helped teachers become more reflective on their teaching, and increased student learning as reflected through the increased SAT scores. Bruce and Ross (2008)found that peer reviews increased teachers efficacy. Moreover, Reid (2008) found

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