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Measuring Teaching Effectiveness—or Not

Graham P. Shaw Barry University, School of Podiatric Medicine, 11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL 33161. (E-mail: gshaw@mail.barry.edu)

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Faculty in the present-day academic medicine environment are expected to perform multiple functions, notably, the provision of high-quality teaching to the medical professionals of tomorrow. However, evaluating the effectiveness of this teaching is particularly difficult. Student evaluations of teaching, despite their many flaws, are widely used as a convenient tool to measure teaching effectiveness. Administrators continue to routinely use student evaluation of teaching surveys in faculty retention/promotion and merit pay decisions. This practice should be reevaluated since it may have unintended consequences, such as grade inflation and content debasement, and may contribute to faculty leaving the institution and even the profession. A more valid, reliable, and formative protocol for the evaluation of genuine teaching effectiveness needs to be developed as a matter of some urgency. In this review, alternatives to the student evaluation of teaching are explored to better measure true teaching effectiveness. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 103(1): 94–96, 2013)