Quality evaluation of the teaching and learning processes in the chair of English grammar I in the Faculty of Languages in the National University of Córdoba
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Evaluation is itself often perceived as threatening the interests of those involved in the object of evaluation. Hence, evaluation tends to be neglected. However, Argentinian policies on education are currently giving increasing importance to improving the quality of education at university level. Consequently, the evaluation of such processes is especially relevant for the universities, inasmuch as it helps to define efficient plans to guaranteee quality. Evaluation of the teaching and learning processes involves collecting evidence, from all the participants involved in such processes, for the purpose of improving the effectiveness of the methodology implemented. A successful evaluation generates outcomes that are valid, reliable and indicate directions and actions for improvement. In this context, its main objective is to collect facts the course developer can and will use to do a better job, and facts from which a deeper understanding of the educational process will emerge. We all agree that teaching is a multidimensional activity, in which one of the most powerful dimensions is that of “teacher as researcher”. As a result, not only do teachers need to use research in their practice but also to participate “in action”. In this investigation, our main objective was to judge the quality and effectiveness of a course of study, more particularly, the Chair of English Grammar I in the Faculty of Languages of the National University of Córdoba, to improve an optimize the didactic and pedagogic classroom practices. The findings are based on the responses from a population of 250 students who took the subject in the academic year 2010 and 4 teachers who were in charge of conducting the teaching and learning processes during the same academic year. To fulfil our objective, a number of aspects concerning the teaching and learning processes were evaluated. Among such aspects, we can mention the course objectives and its contents, the instructional design, the study materials, the assessment practices, the student achievements. The instruments employed for the study include records, documents and questionnaire-surveys. The investigation was a mixed study, since it was about a process in which the researcher gathered, analysed, and linked quantitative and qualitative data into one single study in order to answer one problem. It is worth pointing out that practically no studies on evaluation of a course of study at university level are available in the public domain, and let alone in our institution. Hence, we hope that this study will help us, teachers, continue focusing on the value of teaching and learning as the fundamental mission of education, as the enhancement of quality in teaching and learning must be a continuous effort within an educational institution.
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