Johns Hopkins study finds increased satisfaction and course engagement among students taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty members at Miami Dade College

ACUE’s course improved instructors’ knowledge of and skill in using effective teaching practices; course evaluations were significantly higher than college average

A new study by the Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) at Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness at Miami Dade College (MDC), of over 6,100 student course evaluations finds that students gave faculty credentialed by ACUE statistically higher marks when compared to college-wide averages. Students perceived stronger instruction across 14 of 15 indicators for both new and experienced faculty prepared in the use of evidence-based teaching approaches. CRRE notes that such changes are typically leading indicators of stronger academic outcomes to follow.

CRRE researchers analyzed the impact of ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices among 57 faculty members and their students beginning in September 2016. CRRE surveyed and interviewed instructors and analyzed 6,119 of their student evaluations before, during, and after instructors’ completion of ACUE’s course. Faculty enrolled into one of two cohorts, with CRRE’s analysis repeated for each group.

Among key findings:

  • Students were more satisfied with courses taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty. Course evaluations indicated improvements over time in instructors’ teaching. When comparing evaluations administered across three semesters, students gave higher marks to Cohort 1 faculty on all 15 measures and on 14 out of 15 measures for Cohort 2 after completing ACUE’s course.
  • Course evaluations among ACUE-credentialed faculty were higher, on average, than college-wide averages, with the difference statistically significant. Spring 2017 student evaluations in courses taught by ACUE-credentialed faculty were 0.12 points more positive in Cohort 1 and 0.20 points more positive in Cohort 2 when compared to all MDC instructors.
  • Faculty strengthened their use of evidence-based teaching practices. Ninety-two percent of faculty in Cohort 1 and 100% in Cohort 2 reported increases in their knowledge of and skill in using effective teaching approaches, findings corroborated by student evaluations. Specific areas of improved teaching included faculty members’ ability to:
    • provide regular feedback on students’ learning and progress;
    • create an atmosphere that encourages learning;
    • present information clearly; and
    • assign relevant coursework, among other practices.
  • Faculty recommend ACUE’s course to their peers. Ninety-six percent of instructors in Cohort 1 and 100% in Cohort 2 would recommend ACUE’s course to their colleagues.
  • Faculty’s confidence in their use of evidence-based practices increased. Participants felt more confident planning and designing effective class sessions, making learning more engaging, creating a supportive learning environment, promoting higher order thinking, and stimulating productive class discussions through questioning.
  • Faculty embraced course requirements to implement approaches and reflect on their teaching. Interviewees commended ACUE’s learning design, noting that the requirement to implement evidence-based practices was “the best part of the course.” Course requirements to reflect, in writing, on their implementation was also noted as a key strength.

“Today’s findings further confirm the importance of meaningful investments in our educators’ ability to teach well—with a comprehensive set of evidence-based approaches,” shared Lenore Rodicio, Miami Dade’s Executive Vice President and Provost. “Student course satisfaction and engagement are leading indicators of stronger academic outcomes, and we are pleased, although not surprised, to see higher marks given to our initial cohorts of ACUE-credentialed faculty.”

ACUE’s Chief Academic Officer, Penny MacCormack, noted that “student perceptions of teaching quality are among the few common metrics across higher education and provide empirical support for initiatives that aim to improve student learning, retention and graduation, such as the High-Impact Practices identified through data from the National Survey of Student Engagement.” MacCormack continued, “Given the sheer number of hours that students spend with their professors, class time presents the single greatest opportunity to change students’ lives, and we’re thrilled to see ACUE-credentialed educators are having the tangible impact we seek and expect.”

Steven Ross, Senior Research Scientist and professor at the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University, shared, “It’s notable to see such positive findings, repeated across two cohorts of analysis, so soon after this kind of faculty training and development. As it usually takes time for educators to learn and use more effective practices, it is noteworthy that we did not see an ‘implementation dip’ in their evaluations, but that they showed positive trends.”

Visit to read the full evaluation reports from Johns Hopkins University.

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