TEACHING NOTES: Is my teaching effective?

With the end of semester nigh and for some, an end to teaching for the year, it is timely to reflect on the teaching you have done over the year. For many, this may involve simply the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET), for others a more formal Topic Evaluation might be due. Both of these activities are a form of summative evaluation to help ensure students achieve what the topic intends them to achieve. However, neither alone may give you enough information for ongoing improvement and SETs in particular are only helpful for informing the next delivery of a topic. It’s  also worth reflecting on what else you may have done throughout the year, as a formative evaluation to help inform your overall topic and teaching evaluation.

Think about what you want to evaluate because the effectiveness of your evaluation depends on how well you have planned for it and this is best done before semester even begins! Nonetheless, there are probably a number of formative teaching evaluation activities you have implemented with your students through the year to help you reflect. These will help you get a feel for how effective your teaching has been as well as how well the students have achieved the topics’ expected learning outcomes.

  • Teaching evaluation tools – there are so many different activities we use to inform our teaching. Did you use quizzes, Minute papers, observational techniques or Touchpoint to keep track of your students’ progress? Visit the Flinders Teaching Evaluation Tools page to see what ideas you might like to integrate for 2018.
  • Assessment as evaluation – how well did the students do in their assessment tasks? Assessment is how we measure learning and achievement of expected topic learning outcomes. If assessment results were not as expected, undertake a self-reflection on your teaching and also revisit the Statement of Assessment Methods Do the learning outcomes and the assessment still align?
  • Peer evaluation – did you have the opportunity (formally or informally) for a peer evaluation? If not, consider arranging one for next year. Peer evaluation is a terrific collegial process for gathering feedback on your teaching from a different perspective.


Remember that self-evaluation sets the foundation for all other types of evaluation and is an integral part of our own professional practice. You can:

  • Review your topic curriculum – did the topic progress more quickly at times than you thought, or more slowly? At what point did the students’ challenges slow you down? Reflect on this whilst the topic is still fresh in your mind.
  • Think back on the best teaching sessions in the topic – what commonalities were there? How might you replicate this next year?
  • Consider moments of tension or challenge – could these have been avoided? How might you have handled it differently?
  • Consider any aspects of the topic or teaching you consider a failure – brainstorm these and write a short reflection including some actual solutions to your failures.

There are so many options for personalising your own evaluation of teaching. Visit the Teaching Evaluation Gateway for some more ideas in planning for next year.


Written by Cassandra Hood

Lecturer in Higher Education – CILT

Posted in
Teaching Notes

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