ERIC Number: EJ1171573
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Abstractor: As Provided
Does Context Matter? Convergent and Divergent Findings in the Cross-Institutional Evaluation of Graduate Teaching Assistant Professional Development Programs
Reeves, Todd D.; Hake, Laura E.; Chen, Xinnian; Frederick, Jennifer; Rudenga, Kristin; Ludlow, Larry H.; O'Connor, Clare M.
CBE - Life Sciences Education, v17 n1 Article 8 Mar 2018
Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) play important instructional roles in introductory science courses, yet they often have little training in pedagogy. The most common form of teaching professional development (PD) for GTAs is a presemester workshop held at the course, department, or college level. In this study, we compare the effectiveness of presemester workshops at three northeastern research universities, each of which incorporated scientific teaching as the pedagogical content framework. The comparison of GTA PD program outcomes at three different institutions is intended to test theoretical assertions about the key role of contextual factors in GTA PD efficacy. Pretest and posttest surveys were used to assess changes in GTA teaching self-efficacy and anxiety following the workshops, and an objective test was used to assess pedagogical knowledge. Analysis of pretest/posttest data revealed statistically significant gains in GTA teaching self-efficacy and pedagogical knowledge and reductions in teaching anxiety across sites. Changes in teaching anxiety and self-efficacy, but not pedagogical knowledge, differed by training program. Student ratings of GTAs at two sites showed that students had positive perceptions of GTAs in all teaching dimensions, and relatively small differences in student ratings of GTAs were observed between institutions. Divergent findings for some outcome variables suggest that program efficacy was influenced as hypothesized by contextual factors such as GTA teaching experience.
Descriptors: Teaching Assistants, Graduate Students, Faculty Development, Introductory Courses, Science Instruction, Comparative Analysis, Workshops, Research Universities, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Context Effect, Pretests Posttests, Self Efficacy, Anxiety, Teaching Methods, College Science, Undergraduate Students, Statistical Analysis, Institutional Evaluation, Student Surveys
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: 1140428