Assessment of teaching effectiveness in U.S. dental schools and the value of triangulation

Leila Jahangiri, Thomas W. Mucciolo, Mijin Choi, Andrew I. Spielman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The routine evaluation of teaching effectiveness is important in improving faculty, departmental, and institutional efforts. There are three main categories of assessments: those performed by students, peers, and self. Although each category is independently valid, a collection of data from all three categories leads to a more comprehensive outcome and a creation of a triangulation model. The purpose of this study was to identify commonly used methods of assessing teaching effectiveness and to suggest the use of a triangulation model, which has been advocated in the literature on performance assessment as an optimal approach for evaluating teaching effectiveness. A twelve-question survey was sent to all U.S. dental schools to identify evaluation methods as well as to find evidence of triangulation. Thirty-nine out of fifty-seven schools responded. The majority of the schools used student evaluations (81 percent) and peer reviews (78 percent). A minority of schools reported using self-evaluations (31 percent). Less than one in five dental schools reported using all three strategies to achieve triangulation (19 percent). The three most commonly used evaluation methods ("performed routinely") were all in the student evaluation category. Less than half of the schools routinely evaluated clinical teaching effectiveness by any means (42 percent). In conclusion, dental schools should implement a triangulation process, in which evaluation data are obtained from students, peers, and self to provide a comprehensive and composite assessment of teaching effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-718
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Teacher evaluation
  • Teaching assessment
  • Teaching effectiveness
  • Triangulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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