Consistency in the application of a reflective tool designed to facilitate scholarly review and development of curricula

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

This paper addresses the need for an objective and accessible system that assists academics in the quality review of their teaching and curricula. This is achieved via the Quality Review Instrument (QRI), which was trialled in a postgraduate research proposal course. The QRI provides a scaffold that can guide academics in the development and redevelopment of their courses, and facilitates reflection in and on the teaching process by teacher, peers and learners. At the same time, the QRI provides a robust and objective approach to evaluation of teaching for quality assurance. The comprehensive approach to review of teaching described in this paper facilitates a process that leads to the reshaping of academic and institutional practice in ways that can support and enhance the quality of teaching, learning and the student experience. The review template was constructed by the instructor and reviews of the course were completed by the instructor and two independent reviewers. Students completed the Student Evaluation of Teaching instrument (SET) and the Course Evaluation Instrument (CEI). Responses from the SET and the CEI were compared with the results of the QRI. The results demonstrated that the QRI has a high degree of reliability, even when used by reviewers with different backgrounds and different levels of experience. The instructor also rated the course in a very similar way to the two independent reviewers. The strong relationship between the student responses and the reviewers lends validity to the QRI.

Keywords: peer review, quality improvement, academic practice