Transfer of training and teaching assistant training

Date of Completion

January 1998


Education, Administration|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Higher




This study determined whether university teaching assistant (TA) training programs include and utilize transfer of training principles. The study examined the potential presence and extent of facilitating and inhibiting factors operating in the work environment of teaching assistants trained in a TA training program, and the extent to which supervisor and peer support is given to TAs before, during, and after training. Differences in perceptions of factors according to gender, TA type (American or international) and major concentration were also examined.^ Use of TAs has been criticized on university campuses. Many TAs have had little or no training but are responsible for a large percentage of undergraduate students' instruction. Recently, formal TA training programs have been implemented on many campuses. Little is known if any of the transfer of training principles are utilized in the organizations.^ Data were gathered using the Teaching Assistant Training Inventory (TATI) from a sample of 462 doctoral teaching assistants from 12 universities nationwide. The data were subjected to a confirmatory factor analysis where the 37 items of the TATI were reduced to 10 factors. Rank-ordered means and percents of the factors indicated that teaching assistants perceived facilitating factors to be operating in their work environment and that inhibiting factors were minimal. Agreement was not consistent regarding perceived supervisor support or peer support.^ To test for differences in responses according to gender, TA type, and major concentration, the data were subjected to a 2 x 2 x 4 factorial ANOVA. Differences significant at the.05 level were evident according to gender, TA type, and major concentration for items regarding supervisor support, support for training, peer support, and peer attendance at training.^ It was concluded that TA training programs were operating on the campuses in the study and that certain transfer of training principles existed in the work environment of those teaching assistants being trained.^ Future research should consider the comparisons of administrators', trainers', and TA training program directors' perceptions regarding utilization of transfer of training principles. Qualitative studies were suggested to explore why perceptions of the existence of certain factors differ among different groups of TAs in different major concentrations. ^