General feedback from the Awards Committee on the 2012 nominees
A statement from Dr Peter Coolbear on behalf of the Committee about the standard of applications in 2012, and what the selection panel considers when it assesses the portfolios.
2012 was a record year for the number of nominations, with a total of 39 portfolios submitted. The general standard was very high: there is certainly some wonderful work being undertaken in the sector and once again it was a great privilege for the Awards Committee to share an understanding of what is being achieved.
Most nominees met the criteria well and there was considerable debate before the panel agreed on the final 12. Several nominees can consider themselves unlucky to have missed out this year in such a strong field.
The Awards Committee was particularly pleased to see a large number of nominations from the PTE sector and also several highly ranked nominees engaged in distance learning. This confirmed the inclusiveness of the criteria.
There were 21 nominations from the university sector, 10 from ITPs and 8 from the PEP / ACE sector. In the event, there were 8 awardees this year from the university sector, 2 from the ITPs and 2 from the PEP / ACE sector. 3 awards were made under the Kaupapa Māori category and there was one team award. The range of teaching disciplines covered by the awardees was wide: from the sciences to Te Reo Māori, from economics to hospitality.
What the selection panel is looking for
The bottom line for the Awards Committee is that nominees can demonstrate through their portfolios that they meet all the criteria. Nearly all portfolios do and do so very well: the panel discussion is very much about identifying the best portfolios out of a strong field.
The panel identified the following as key points (in no particular order) for discussion during their determinations:
- the level of systematic evidence provided in the portfolio
The panel recognises that not all nominees may have access to a systematic independent evaluation service within their organisations. The panel will take the context of teaching into account and will not expect the same kind of independent evidence from nominees where their organisation is not set up to provide this. Nevertheless, we do expect to see systematically presented evidence from students, peers and other stakeholders to support their narrative.
- demonstration of sustained excellence
Awards are for sustained excellence – the panel look for evidence of excellence over several years.
Each year some portfolios, in the view of the panel, place too much emphasis on just one aspect of the criteria at the expense of others (even though all criteria are met). This tends to place such portfolios at a disadvantage against others which are more multi-dimensional.
- reflection and innovation
Excellent teachers are always reviewing their practice – the panel are looking for evidence of this and, in particular, how teachers look for and act on feedback from their learners.
- an insight into the nominee's practice
The best portfolios provide insights for panel members into what it might actually be like for a learner to be in the nominee’s class. Attention-grabbing stories about teaching practice, supported by evidence that it works for students often differentiate a great portfolio from a very good one.
- outcomes for students
This is another key and related area. The learning experiences provided may be fun, innovative and highly enjoyable, but are they effective: do they actually support students’ learning? What do students take with them once they have completed the course?
- presentation of portfolios
The panel is careful to focus on the substance of each portfolio, not the presentation. Illustrations, tables of data and modes of presentation should clearly add to the story being told.
For the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards Committee
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