Peer Learning Activities
The PROFFORMANCE consortium aimed to elaborate a joint criteria model for an assessment tool for teachers’ performance that may be customized to HEIs own needs in all EHEA countries. The planned assessment tool aimed to define benchmarks and a framework to help HEIs and teachers to find strengths to base on and weaknesses to tackle. It fostered the exchange of knowledge and best practices and encouraged intra- and inter-institutional collaboration at national and international levels.
The consortium decided to gather and work together at peer-learning-activity (PLA) events, as peer learning is a powerful way of sharing knowledge. It involves individuals exchanging knowledge and experience with each other and diffusing this learning back to their country and organizations.
Three PLAs were organized, and their specific content was elaborated based on the benchmarking activity, the synthesis report of state-of-the-art and best practice collection and the experts’ input. In working groups, experts defined criteria upon which the related assessment tool questionnaires will be based and tried to define recommendations on incentives. As a follow-up of the PLAs smaller groups of experts (4-5) worked on the drafting of PLA reports, the assessment tool questions and policy recommendations on incentives.
In the following, you can find a detailed description of the PLA's elaborated in the frame of the Profformance project (2020-2022).
Table of contents
- PLA VIRTUALLY - Preparation for PLA1
- TASKS AND ACTIVITIES OF 21ST CENTURY TEACHERS - PLA1 day one
- FOCUS ON TEACHERS' COMPETENCES - PLA1, day two
- TOWARDS A 2D AND 3D COMPETENCE MATRIX OF TEACHERS - PLA2
- PERSPECTIVES AND VIEWS OF THE 3D MATRIX FOR THE SELF-ASSESSMENT TOOL - PLA3
As the project has been built on the experience and outputs of the EDUCA-T project of the Ministry of Science and Education of Croatia, the PLA1 activities have been coordinated by Croatian partners and experts. Daliborka Luketic (University of Zadar) has taken the lead role for PLA1, and the University of Zadar was supposed to be the host and provide the venue for the workshop.
Daliborka Luketic elaborated on the background and the professional concept of the peer-learning, and the implementation has been planned together with Vilmos Vass and the Croatian and Hungarian partners.
Due to the worldwide spread of the 2nd wave of the pandemic, the consortium was forced to opt for the online organization of the PLA, which demanded reconsideration of the methodology. Instead of a 2-day-long physical meeting, it was decided to split the process into several smaller units.
In the first stage, experts have been asked to participate in the creation of a common, asynchronous online mind map exercise, which aim was to create a common knowledge base and to involve and engage the experts, to make them interested, as well as to assess their commitment and prepare the professional activity. Based on the indicated interests and ambitions, 3 working groups were formed, with two leaders each, who could get acquainted with the tasks in the framework of a preliminary synchronic meeting.
This preparation not only decreased the workload of Day 1 of the PLA, but group leaders could get familiarised with the aims and expected outputs, and also experts could get to know a bit each other during the exercises.
On the 8th of December 2020 PLA, PROFFORMANCE experts discussed what roles, tasks and activities a higher education teacher must fulfil in the 21st century. Almost 30 experts were brought together to define the basic structure of the planned PROFFORMANCE assessment tool for teachers' performance. The aim of the PROFFORMANCE project is the development of a set of criteria for teachers’ roles, and tasks and elaborating of the Assessment Tool (AT) for the evaluation of teacher competencies in their tasks concerning a broader concept of teaching and learning.
For this venture, the first step was to define the areas of practices and activities that higher education teachers do in their academic life. In this regard, experts took into consideration not only existing practices but also those roles that are expected by policy documents at national and EU/EHEA levels as well.
As preparation for the meeting, experts participated in an asynchronous mind-mapping exercise, through which teachers' tasks have been collected into 12 thematic areas. Upon application and preferences, 3 working groups have been created with 2 co-leaders for each, with the responsibility for 4 thematic areas.
On the day of the meeting, participants started with an informal online welcome coffee to greet each other and to see a video about the beautiful city of Zadar, the original location of the meeting. Project partners have also heard the online welcome speech of the Rector of the University of Zadar and a virtual tour around the university building made the online space a little friendlier.
After the greetings by the Croatian and Hungarian ministries as the co-organizers of the PLA, Klára-Engels Perényi from the European Commission presented various connected European policies providing the context for the discussions. Vilmos Vass, the lead expert of the project described the structure, and the logic of the PLAs and outlined the expected outputs of the day, then Daliborka Luketic explained the background and the methodology of the work.
In the first interactive part, it was important to get to common ground with the experts on their attitudes and opinions on the concept of assessment. With the help of menti.com votes, participants discussed findings and different points of view.
After the break, important input was given to further work. Daliborka Luketic showed the methodology they used in their EDUCA-t project, and how they developed their teacher competence framework, then László Horváth and Günter Wagender presented the first preliminary findings of the PROFFORMANCE benchmarking survey to consider its findings during the discussions.
Special guest from OECD, Carlos Teixeira presented the OECD project "Support for the Digital Transformation of Hungarian Higher Education". Then upon Daliborka Luketic's input, experts started their collaborative work in their working groups.
In the end, WG leaders reflected on challenges and outputs and experts agreed on the next steps and methodology of their follow-up works between the two days of the PLA.
To counterbalance the tiring screentime, during the implementation, more attention was paid to the appropriate proportion of plenary presentations and interactive discussions. Also, to compensate for the missing social interactions, and as Christmas has been approaching, during the lunch break, the participants prepared the PROFFORMANCE international recipe collection, which we recommend to everyone.
PROFFORMANCE experts continued their work after the successful preparatory of the first day of PLA1 to define what competencies were needed for 21st-century teachers to fulfil their various and wide-ranged tasks and activities in their academic life. Between the two days of the PLA1 the three expert groups worked synchronously and asynchronously to agree on the to-be-used definition of teachers' competence, on the finalization of their thematic areas, and to define which are the so-called horizontal aspects - like digitalization, internationalization, inclusion, third mission - which affects almost all the tasks that teachers do. They also had to deal with the overlapping items - tasks belonging to more categories - between the groups.
On the second day of the PLA experts met again on the 13th of January. Participants brought a "red thing" of any kind, and each of them could tell some message to the others or explain why (s)he brought that object. The heart-beating or funny messages not only contributed to creating a nice atmosphere, but participants could get to know the people behind the screen a bit more.
On the official part, Vilmos Vass outlined the aims of the meeting and Daliborka Luketic presented the synthesized working definition of teachers' competence to be used during the discussions. As there were many definitions proposed by the experts and many more exist in different studies, projects etc., upon all those, it was necessary to conclude with one which is comprehensive, but simple and everybody can accept its usage.
The next step was to listen to the report of the Working Group leaders, what they could achieve, and what were their challenges during group work. It was interesting to hear how differently they accomplished their tasks, and how different methodologies they used. They got some feedback from the main leaders and from the other group members, and they could learn from each other on the implementation methods as well.
Before the continuation of the group work some more has been provided for the experts. László Horváth and Günter Wageneder presented the qualitative assessment of the benchmarking questionnaires, analyzing the answers which contained practices on teachers' assessment and showed some assessment tool models for inspiration. Vilmos Vass outlined how the multi-aspect assessment tool (self/peer/student/management/stakeholder) can be used for quality assurance of teaching and learning in higher education. Finally, Daliborka Luketic guided us through the whole process of how to get from the definition of teachers' tasks to assign competence fields to each and how these competence areas can be assessed from the different points of view (self/peer/student/management/stakeholder). Then working groups continued their work and agreed on continuation.
It turned out that the elaboration of an assessment tool is not an easy task at all. Above all, experts couldn't meet personally just in the online space. Partners and experts of the project work in 3 different time zones. More than 20 international experts with different experiences should work together and the process itself should be invented together, deciding which fits the most to the PROFFORMANCE aims. Fortunately, both the experts and the partners were very enthusiastic and collaborative, and real peer-learning is accomplished between the different parties.
PROFFORMANCE experts have introduced a new dimension into the higher education teachers' competence matrix. The process of creating an assessment tool for higher education teachers reached a new phase with a Peer Learning Activity organized in March 2021. The PLA was a 2-day event held online in the Zoom platform (instead of the originally planned venue, Prague), the first day took place on Thursday 4th March and the second on Thursday 18th March.
The organizers were the Czech consortium partners: the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Czechia and the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research. The main contributors were Jan Beseda (Centre for Higher Education Studies), Zuzana Poláková (Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport) and Lucie Rohlíková (University of West Bohemia), Daliborka Luketic (University of Zadar), Vilmos Vass (Budapest Metropolitan University), On both days nearly 30 experts took an active part.
The 2nd PLA had 3 main goals:
- Connecting Vertical and Horizontal Aspects of Competency Framework
- Prepare a framework of 3rd dimension layer of Assesment Tools (decide on which actors assess which competency)
- Prepare the 3D structure of Assessment Tools
On Thursday 4th March PROFFORMANCE experts discussed the role of Horizontal Aspects: Digitalization, Universal Design and Internationalization. The event started with Vilmos Vass and Daliborka Luketić, who presented the results of 1st PLA. After that invited experts talked about the horizontal aspects of teacher’s performance. First, Stefania Bocconi (National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Educational Technology) spoke about the project SELFIE, which is focused on the digital competencies of teachers. Terry Maguire (Director of the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Ireland) presented the aspects of Universal Design in higher education. The DIGI-HE team (Alison Morrisroe, Policy and Project Officer, European University Association, Airina Volungevičiené, Director of Institute of Innovate Studies, Vytautas Magnus University and Mark Brown, Director of National Institute for Digital Learning, Dublin City University) gave a lecture about their project, which inquires the role of Digitalization in higher education teaching and learning. Finally, Uwe Brandenburg (Global Impact Institute, Czech Republic) pointed out on important aspects of Internalization in higher education teachers’ performance. Small working groups were organized and worked both synchronously and asynchronously on their part of the Competency 2D Matrix until 11th March. Group A was dedicated to Digitalisation, Group B tested Universal Design and Group C was responsible for Internationalization.
The second day focused on finishing the 3D Matrix. After the non-formal opening, Jan Beseda and Vilmos Vass reflected on previous work. Then two presentations followed on self-reflection tools in higher education. Firstly, Ninoslav Šcukanec Schmidt (Institute for the Development of Education, Croatia) presented the result of the project TEFCE which is focused on self-reflection of community engagement in higher education. Then Maria Palladino (European Commission) showed how to use HEInnovate for self-reflection on entrepreneurship and innovation. After the presentations, the stakeholders continued the discussion on how to assess teachers’ performance in higher education. Working groups were organized again maximum of 7 persons in each, working on their own Competency Matrix 3D Structure till 25th March. Group A was responsible for Teachers-self / Teachers peers’ assessments, Group B tested External Stakeholders contribution and Group C was dedicated to Students/HEI management.
Main outputs of PLA2:
- Working Groups prepared about 80% of the 3D Matrix while some areas need to be further discussed (e. g. the horizontal aspects)
- Working definition of horizontal aspects has been created.
- Working definition of competence used in the project has been defined.
- Role of stakeholders was defined, however the external stakeholders have not been fully specified, this will need further discussions.
- Students as population and as representatives have to be distinguished (e.g. in issues about Quality Assurance students do not have the competences for assessment, but their representatives do).
The third Peer Learning Activity (PLA3) took place on May 27 and June 7, 2021, that was organized by the National Center for Educational Quality Enhancement – Georgia. In this highly interactive online event, more than 50 participants were brought together from 10 countries. Students, higher education experts, representatives from academia and other external stakeholders, including invited experts, contributed to the PLA by presenting the good practice from diverse perspectives and their views of the 3D Matrix for the self-assessment tool.
The 1st day of the PLA3 focused on engaging with students to learn about their perspectives on the 3D Matrix of the self-assessment tool to be developed in the project. For this students from Hungary, Croatia, Georgia, and the UK were brought together and contributed with their views.
The 2nd day of the PLA focused on the views of external stakeholders, employer representatives, peers and management of universities on the thematic areas and applicability of the current version of the 3D Matrix. The members of NCEQE’s international QA experts’ roster were actively engaged in the workshops. Cross working groups of experts will consider the inputs made during both days of PLA3, as the project moves forward.