Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) often teach the majority of contact hours within engineering with little pedagogical knowledge. To plan efficient professional development for GTAs to address this, we created and administered a survey to measure the perceived importance of GTAs’ roles and responsibilities. GTAs, faculty, and students rated the importance of each of 24 GTA roles and responsibilities on a 5-point Likert scale and the perceived competence of GTAs on these 24 items. We used exploratory factor analysis and reliability tests to ascertain construct validity and reliability. We conceptualized the resulting four factors (which accounted for 54% of the total variance) as the following: 1) clear communication, 2) student management, 3) preparation for feedback and assessment, and 4) course management/policy knowledge. Correlations with an empirically-validated teacher motivation measure indicated the four factors were positively related to GTAs’ intrinsic motivation. Comparisons among scores for GTAs, faculty, and students revealed many similarities and several significant differences among these groups, especially in ratings of competence between GTAs and others.
|DONALD P. FRENCH