Aquario, Debora (2008) Didattica universitaria e processi valutativi in prospettiva internazionale. Una ricerca sulle opinioni degli studenti. [Ph.D. thesis]
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In the international panorama the issue concerning teaching evaluation in higher education has been widely discussed. It clearly emerges the importance of undertaking a multidimensional view over the teaching process as well as involving the main actors of the university life according to a participative evaluation model, differentiating the various disciplinary contexts in order to determine which aspects are specific and which ones are transversal to faculties.
On the basis of these assumptions, it was carried out a research (under the coordination of Prof. Raffaella Semeraro) across four faculties of Padua University (Humanities, Psychology, Educational Sciences, Maths), to be considered as a preliminary study for the development of an instrument of teaching evaluation.
The aim of the pre-research was to ask the students of the four faculties chosen, through a semi-structured interview, to express the criteria they consider important in the evaluation of the university teaching. Forty students (ten for each faculty mentioned above) were the subjects involved in the preliminary study. Qualitative analysis of the data collected were conducted using the software Atlas.ti, showing a multidimensional conception of teaching process and differences among faculties.
On the basis of the results of this preliminary study, it was developed a questionnaire composed by 92 items. Respondents are asked to answer on a 5-points Likert scale. It was administered to 440 students representatives of three faculties: Psychology, Educational Sciences and Engineering.
Quantitative data obtained were analysed using SPSS. A factor analysis with Varimax rotation was conducted (factor loading criteria: 0.40), allowing the extraction of five factors (Focus on discipline, Critical thinking, Relationship, Practical implications of the course, Focus on student); internal reliability of each factor was computed and Alpha coefficients for each of the 5 scales resulted very high (> .80). Moreover, there were conducted cross-analyses with respect to the faculties, revealing significant differences between Psychology, Educational Sciences on one side and Engineering on the other. The unique transversal element resulted to be Factor 1 (Focus on discipline).
The emerging factors refer to a complex and multidimensional idea of university teaching. This complexity should be the precondition for the design of effective evaluation activities.
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