George Fulda

Date of Graduation


Document Type



This study was conducted because limited research has been conducted in the specific use of formative evaluations in higher education and how it helps instructors improve their teaching. Additionally, this study examined the relationship between formative evaluation and faculty development. A mixed-method approach was used to discover the methods of formative evaluation used in English Departments in Baccalaureate Liberal Arts Colleges. A web survey determined revealed these methods in use. From the responding institutions, faculty from three case-study institutions reflecting best practices participated in interviews and document analysis to determine: what dimensions of teaching are evaluated through different methods, how do the results from evaluations help faculty improve upon their teaching and what pedagogical training do faculty participate in? This study revealed a typical profile for institutions from this sample of liberal arts colleges. The study enforced the notion that while it is certainly efficient to combine formative and summative purposes in the same instruments, it is rarely effective for both purposes. Various instruments were examined for which dimensions of teaching were most and least commonly evaluated. Quantitative instruments demonstrated their confirmative effect on teaching improvement. Instruments with specific narrative comments effected the most changes in teaching. Peer evaluation instruments were reported as providing formative effect for both the evaluator and the person being evaluated. The benefits of faculty development initiatives were explored from financial support initiatives to special interest programming to one-on-one tutorials. Finally, while the aims of faculty development and formative evaluations are the same, no marriage between the two formal processes exists from any examined source.