You are here:

A Matter of Preference--Lecturers vs. Teaching--Assistants in Tutorials


Journal on School Educational Technology Volume 1, Number 1, ISSN 0973-2217


In many universities and colleges around the world, it is an accepted practice to supplement frontal lectures of courses with separate practice classes or tutorials. For this purpose lecturers may sometimes use the services of teaching-assistants to conduct the tutorials. Teaching-assistants conduct tutorials in many courses in Israel's academic institutions, especially where core classes and tutorials are separate. The paper presents the results of a comprehensive instructors' assessments survey conducted in Israel's largest public college in 2004. In this survey, students in small tutorial groups, typically comprised of 15-35 participants each, rated their instructors. Students assessed the performance of two different types of instructors: fully accredited lecturers (including instructors, lecturers, senior lecturers and professors), who were also in charge of the core course, and teaching-assistants (usually Ph. D. candidates), who were formally responsible solely for the tutorials and accountable to the accredited lecturers. The research explored the differences between students' assessments of lecturers in plenary (or core) classes and small-group tutorial settings, as well as the students' course grades in each tutorial setting (be it a core class conducted by the lecturer or a small-group tutorial conducted by the teaching-assistant). It also explored the differences between students' assessments of lecturers and teaching-assistants. Contrary to expectations based on previous research done in the world, the findings of the present study fail to indicate differences in either students' assessments of the teachers in charge of the tutorials or in the students' course grades by tutor status (lecturer or teaching-assistant). The findings of the present study indicate no academic justification for dividing course work between lecturers and teaching-assistants. Both lecturers and teaching-assistants were judged to be equally effective as tutors, and equally contributed to students' success as translated into grades. Such division does, however, have a major budgetary advantage. Teaching-assistants are much more cost-effective. Furthermore, this division provides teaching training opportunities and experience for junior faculty members functioning as tutors. A bibliography is included. [Note: The footer in this full text article shows the incorrect journal title. The correct title is "Journal on School Educational Technology."]


Davidovitch, N. & Soen, D. (2005). A Matter of Preference--Lecturers vs. Teaching--Assistants in Tutorials. Journal on School Educational Technology, 1(1), 57-65. Retrieved October 4, 2022 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on January 9, 2019. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.