Theses Doctoral

Cross National Comparisons of Excellence in University Mathematics Instructors - An Analysis of Key Characteristics of Excellent Mathematics Instructors based on Teacher Evaluation Forms

Grant, Frida Kristin

Mathematicians have, historically, not been overly successful in their approach to teaching and much research has looked in to why this is so. Teaching mathematics is based on a solid understanding of the subject; however, instructors also need to be able to efficiently communicate the subject to their students. The purpose of this study was to establish common characteristics of excellent university lecturers in mathematics by applying Marsh's ten evaluation categories. This thesis sought to identify which of these areas were most consistently demonstrated by those university lecturers receiving the highest student ratings and whether there are any areas in which excellent lecturers received inconsistent ratings. The dissertation further used these observations to provide evidence of particular characteristics that are more important than others in the development of excellent university mathematics instructors.
This study collected quantitative data in the shape of teacher evaluation forms from both Swedish and US mathematics institutions. The data suggests that instructors acknowledged to be excellent receive high ratings in areas concerning subject matter knowledge, explanatory ability, the fairness of examinations, and enthusiasm and commitment to students. Overall, items that explain a lecturer's persona, character and personality are generally more highly correlated with ratings for the instructor himself whereas categories which describe the preparation, organization and structure of the course, are generally more highly correlated with a student's overall learning experience and Overall Course rating.


  • thumnail for Grant_columbia_0054D_11754.pdf Grant_columbia_0054D_11754.pdf application/pdf 2.16 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Mathematics Education
Thesis Advisors
Smith, Phil
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 6, 2014