Evaluation and quality assurance of CIP’s courses

One of CIP’s primary aims is to offer high-quality language courses designed to meet participants’ needs and wants in a university context, based on a communicative approach to language teaching and informed by sound pedagogical, didactic and second language acquisition research. Experience sharing, sparring and collaboration are central elements in the development of our language courses, and therefore CIP’s employees regularly take part in team meetings where they can share experience and exchange ideas with their colleagues in relation to course development and teaching.

This team-based collaboration, where collegial sparring is part of the development of the centre’s activities, also makes a vital contribution to the centre’s function as a research unit, as a competence development centre and as a resource and knowledge centre.

Since the centre was established, the development of an evaluation procedure for CIP’s competence development activities has been one of our top priorities. The aim of the evaluation procedure is to ensure that the participants’ evaluations are included in the continuous development of the courses.

In order to achieve this goal, all CIP courses are monitored through a combination of participant evaluations, instructor evaluations, and classroom observations. As well as ensuring that participant expectations are met, this framework also provides vital feedback to enable courses to be continually updated and improved based on the participants’ specific needs and work situations.

In practice, this means that CIP’s evaluation team goes through the evaluations from the courses held and further develops CIP’s course concepts based on these evaluations. CIP’s evaluation team is made up of researchers as well as administrative and team coordinators for the various types of activities included in CIPs course portfolio.

On top of this, meetings for all CIP’s employees are held where both positive and negative comments as well as suggestions for changes are discussed, not only in relation to the course activities, but also in relation to the evaluation procedure and the evaluation forms used.

At the beginning of each year, CIP publishes its annual report. This includes a report of all of CIP’s competence development activities as well as an overview of the level of participant satisfaction for each of these activities.

The evaluation procedure for CIP’s competence development activities can be illustrated as shown below:

Participant evaluations

At the end of a course, the participants fill in an evaluation form. The course is also evaluated orally on the last day of the course

In addition, the instructors typically hold a formative oral evaluation about half-way through the course. This informal evaluation helps to ensure that the course is meeting participants’ needs and expectations, and to identify what, if any, adjustments need to be made for the second half of the course.

Instructor evaluations

The instructor’s evaluation of the course is a tool to allow instructors to reflect on their own teaching in order to further develop the courses. Furthermore, the evaluation provides valuable feedback which also enables CIP to further develop the course concept and course administration.

Classroom observations

CIP’s language instructors visit each others’ classes to ensure that course aim, levels, materials and methods are approriate. Thus, the observations also serve as input in the continuous development of our courses. As our observers are themselves language instructors at CIP, the aim is to create a mutually beneficial framework of peer observations; the instructor is also invited to speak with the observer after the observation as this can provide a unique opportunity for the instructor to obtain feedback for professional development purposes.