Investigating teaching performance in seminars; a questionnaire study with a multi-level approach

Annemarie Spruijt*, Jimmie Leppink, Ineke Wolfhagen, Albert Scherpbier, Peter van Beukelen, Debbie Jaarsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Teachers play an important role in seminars as facilitators and content experts. However, contextual factors like students' preparation, group size, group interaction, and content appear to influence their performance. Understanding the impact of these contextual factors on students' perception of teaching performance may help to further understand seminar teaching. Besides that, it may help curriculum organisers and teachers to get more insight in how to optimise their versatile role in seminars. The aim of this study is to investigate how students' perception of teaching performance in seminars is explained by students' extent of preparation, seminar group size, group interaction, and content. Methods: The Utrecht Seminar Evaluation (USEME) questionnaire was used to collect information on teaching performance and the aforementioned explanatory variables. To account for intra-student, intra-seminar, and intra-teacher correlation in the data, multilevel regression was used to analyse 988 completed questionnaires in 80 seminars with 36 different teachers. Results: Group interaction and seminar content had large (B = 0.418) and medium (B = 0.212) positive effects on perceived teaching performance scores, whereas the effects of students' preparation (B = -0.055) and group size (B = -0.130) were small and negative. Conclusions: This study provides curriculum organisers and teachers indications on how to optimise variables that influence perceived teaching performance in seminars. It is suggested that teachers should search for the most appropriate combination of motivating and challenging content and facilitation method within seminars to optimise discussion opportunities between students.
Original languageEnglish
Article number203
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2014


  • Group interaction
  • Group size
  • Interactive learning
  • Seminar teaching performance
  • Student preparation

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