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Publication #FCS9076

Evaluating the Extension Volunteer Teacher1

Elizabeth B. Bolton2

This is one publication in the series The Cooperative Extension Volunteer Teacher. This volunteer teacher series addresses the need for guidelines to assist Extension county faculty in the important task of preparing the volunteer to teach.

Overview

Evaluating the volunteer teacher may seem like an odd thing to do since this person is not being paid for his/her services to the Extension program. Volunteers, like paid employees, appreciate knowing the strong and weak points of their performance. Evaluating the volunteer teacher is an important part of the process and it serves several purposes:

  1. It gives the volunteer a perspective of the strength of their performance as a teacher. If they are involved in another volunteer teacher experience, they will be able to improve their performance.

  2. Evaluating a volunteer teacher will also provide the Extension faculty conducting the evaluation some ideas about their performance. For example, might the volunteer teacher have performed differently if they had additional information? Was there too much supervision or too little?

  3. The evaluation information can be used to improve the recruitment, orientation, and training components of the program. It can be the basis for planned change.

  4. The data gathered can be used in reporting Extension program accomplishments. Further, a thorough evaluation can be used to explain the program to the community and to funding agencies.

  5. The evaluation can be the basis for a formal recognition and acknowledgement of the Extension Volunteer Teacher.

The volunteer teacher should know from the beginning that he/she will be evaluated, who will be doing the evaluation, and how the results will be used. The volunteer should be aware of the criteria that will be used in the evaluation. The evaluation form should be furnished to him/her during the orientation and it should be the basis for the training program. The fact that the volunteer is not a paid professional does not detract from the importance of appraising his/her work. Rather, it gives recognition to the importance of the volunteer work.

Evaluations are used to aid in the decision-making process. Evaluation data can be used to make decisions about the utilization of volunteers, their selection, orientation, and the Extension program they serve.

Stenzel and Feeney (1968) suggest that goals and objectives should be used as the criteria for judging the quality and effectiveness of the volunteer program. They note that the criteria for program quality is a high attendance that is consistent over time, participants enjoy the training sessions, participants are active and involved, and there is a positive attitude toward additional training (p. 172).

General Guidelines for Evaluating the Extension Volunteer Teacher

  1. The volunteer teacher should be made aware that there will be an evaluation, who will do it and how the results will be used.

  2. There should be an opportunity for evaluation by and with the volunteer teacher using the goals and objectives of the program as criteria (Stenzel and Feeney, 1968, p. 203).

  3. The volunteer teacher should look at the teaching experience as a learning experience that meets a personal goal. This goal should be identified during the recruitment process and both the volunteer and the Extension Supervisor should be aware of the personal benefits the volunteer hopes to derive from the teaching experience.

  4. The volunteer teacher should be considered as an educational resource as well as a client of the program. Both roles demand respect and consideration from the Extension staff.

  5. The participants' needs are primary in the program and volunteer teachers that do not perform adequately will be asked to volunteer for other type positions. (See letters in recruitment section.)

  6. Wilson (1976) says that the evaluation results should be used in a meaningful way. They should be discussed and something should be done as a consequence of having evaluated work of the volunteer teacher. Results should be analyzed and recommendations should be made for change or improvement in parts of the program that can make a difference in the effectiveness of the work of the volunteer teacher (p. 90).

Types of Evaluation

There are several types of evaluation that might be done and these can be used singly or in combination.

Self Evaluation. This is done by the volunteer teacher to assess his/her own strengths and weaknesses. This serves to make the volunteer teacher take a personal look at his/her performance and to be as objective as possible. They may discover their own weak points. This will make it easier for the Extension supervisor to point out the same weakness and make corrective suggestions. Examine sample instruments 1 and 3 to see which fits the needs of your program. Sample Instrument 1, derived from the American Red Cross, can be used by the volunteer for self assessment as well as by the supervisor.

Evaluation by the Extension Supervisor. An assessment by the Extension County Supervisor can be the same form that is used by the volunteer teacher for a self assessment or a different form can be used as in Sample Instrument 2.

Participant Evaluation. An assessment by the participants in the classes or courses taught by the volunteer teacher is the tangible evidence of the participants reaction to the class and the instruction provided. (See Sample Instrument 4.)

These evaluation instruments should be available to both the volunteer teacher and the Extension Supervisor. Evaluation of the Extension volunteer teacher is not to be used as a threat but rather as a formal acknowledgement of the importance of the job and the feedback to the provider. Each of these can be used singly or in combination with the others. The important thing to be remembered is that if a job is worth doing, it is worth appraising.

The evaluation should not depart from the job description and the criteria that were used in recruiting and training the volunteer teacher. The information on the job description and the recruitment criteria ideally have been shared with the volunteer teacher during the orientation phase. In evaluating the volunteer teacher, the following broad areas, reflected in the job description, orientation, and training sections are important in the evaluation process. These include: teaching skills and subject matter mastery, reliability, interpersonal skills, and commitment to the University of Florida and the Extension mission.

References

American Red Cross. (September, 1990). Performance Review Form I for Paid and Volunteer Staff. American Red Cross Form 6616-A (9-90): American Red Cross.

Cummins, R.A. (1998). Leadership for volunteers: The way it is and the way it could be. Journal of Extension [on line]. Available: http://www.joe.org/joe/1998october/tt2.html

Stenzel, A.K. and Feeney, H.M. (1968). Volunteer training and development: A manual for community groups. New York: The Seabury Press.

Stout, P.E. (August, 1982). Maximizing volunteers in program delivery. New York: New York State Cooperative Extension Systems.

Tidwell, J.V. ( 2005). A social identify model of prosocial behaviors within nonprofit organizations. Nonprofit Management and Leadership, 15 (4), 449-467.

Wilson, M. (1976). The effective management of volunteer programs. Boulder, Colorado: Volunteer Management Associates.

Tables

Sample Instrument 1. 

Sample Instrument 1

Please list your key responsibilities and the results and accomplishments of your work as you perceive them.

I. Key Responsibilities

Results and Accomplishments

 
 

II. Work-Related Behaviors

Rate your work-related behaviors using the criteria listed below.

 

a.Clearly unsatisfactory

 

b.Needs improvement

 

c.Fully successful

 

d.Exceeds expectations

Commitment to Extension Clients and Class Participants

 

Treat internal and external users of Extension service as top priority

 

Act effectively to respond to clients in a timely way

 

Encourage and listen to client's input

Commitment to Extension Service and Its Mission

 

Communicate and support Extension mission and values and inspire pride in the organization

 

Comply with policies, procedures, regulations, and operations

 

Identify how plans, policies, procedures, or actions can be modified to improve/strengthen organizational performance

Commitment to People

 

Demonstrate cooperation and teamwork in accomplishing results

 

Demonstrate sensitivity to cultural and ethnic differences in all interactions

 

Actively seek and act on ways to improve effectiveness of working with others

 

Show personal integrity in dealing with others

Commitment to Self

 

Demonstrate initiative and recognize need for action, proceeding in a responsible manner

 

Accept constructive feedback and use it to strengthen performance

 

Take responsibility for own actions, readily admit mistakes

 

Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability in response to change

Commitment to Task

 

Consistently meet deadlines

 

Produce highest quality work in accordance with policies, procedures, regulations, and operations

 

Meet demands with respect to quantity

 

Effectively plan and organize work and able to deal with unexpected or unusual demands

 

Identify, analyze, and innovatively solve problems

 

Perform work independently, involving the supervisor when necessary

 

Seek new and more efficient means for performing the job

 

Exercise good judgment and make timely, effective decisions

III. Other Performance Factors

Rate your other performance factors using the criteria listed above.

Job Knowledge/Technical Skills

 

Effectively utilize necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job

 

Actively strive to keep current with new technology and concepts in area of responsibility

 

Quickly understand and apply new knowledge

Communications

 

Listen effectively and demonstrate understanding of information received

 

Express information clearly and effectively in writing

 

Speak clearly, logically, and convincingly

 

Present a positive impact of the Extension Service when communicating with others

Reliability

 

Maintain satisfactory attendance record

 

Punctual for work and meetings

Adapted from American Red Cross. (September, 1990). Performance Review Form I for Paid and Volunteer Staff. American Red Cross Form 6616-A (9-90): American Red Cross.

Sample Instrument 2. 

Supervisor's Appraisal Form for Volunteer Teacher

Rate each of the following using the scale below each item. Comment on any of the items you feel need additional explanation.

TEACHING SKILLS

1. Knowledge of subject matter

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

2. Ability to work with adults as a facilitator of learning

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

3. Use of good demonstration and questioning techniques

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

4. Knowledge of the sequence of learning and the ability to plan the events of instruction

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

5. Ability to work with older adult learners; judgement and maturity

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

RELIABILITY

6. Dependability

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

7. Punctuality

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

8. Keeps records as requested

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

9. Follows all guidelines

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

10. Motivation/perseverance - follow through on tasks to completion

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

11. Ability to work with others

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

12. Ability to accept direction

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

13. Spirit of cooperation

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

14. Communications skills

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

 
 
Sample Instrument 3. 

Self-Appraisal for Extension Volunteer Teacher

1. What skills or abilities have you developed or enhanced through your work as a volunteer teacher?

2. Are there skills that you think you need to work on in order to do a better job as a volunteer teacher? If so, what are they?

3. List the results or outcomes from this class that you observed from your students?

4. Describe your relationship with the Extension office staff and county faculty?

5. Were the Extension Staff helpful? If so, in what way?

6. Did you need things that were not provided? If so, what?

7. What did you enjoy most and find the most fulfilling as a volunteer teacher?

8. What did you enjoy least and find the least beneficial to your work as a volunteer teacher?

9. What recommendations would you make to the Extension Supervisor and the Extension Service for things that might be changed to improve the Volunteer Teacher program.

Sample Instrument 4. 

Participant Evaluation

1. Rate the subject matter knowledge of the teacher.

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

2. Rate the usefulness of the class/session to you.

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

3. Rate the ability of the teacher to get along with participants.

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

4. Rate the communication skills of the teacher.

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

5. Rate the punctuality and dependability of the teacher.

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 
 

6. Did the teacher meet your expectations in presenting the material to be learned?

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

7. Would you recommend this class to someone else? Why or why not?

High

 

Medium

 

Low

5

4

3

2

1

Comments:

 

8. What did you like most about the class?

9. What did you like least about the class?

10. Overall comments

Footnotes

1.

This document is FCS9076, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date October 1992. Revised October 2005. Reviewed January 2013. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

Elizabeth B. Bolton, Professor, Community Development , Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.