TEACHING NOTES: Evaluating teaching

It’s almost impossible to believe the end of semester is already upon us! Likely you have thought about your Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs) but what else can you use to gauge how effective your teaching has been?

We know that effective, quality teaching doesn’t happen by chance. Effective teachers become good at what they do because they evaluate their practice, reflect upon it and make changes in an ongoing cycle of continual improvement. The Educational Quality Framework provides some guidance on different forms of assessing quality in teaching, all with a view to ongoing improvement. These include both student and peer perspectives on teaching (e.g. peer evaluation of teaching) but we’re encouraged to incorporate a range of measures. These might include:

Student ratings
(e.g. Student Evaluations of Teaching)
Peer reviews
Self-reviews Interviews with student
Videos of practice Teaching awards and scholarship
Supervisor reviews Maintenance of teaching portfolios
Learning outcome measures

Consider having a teaching evaluation plan for the year (or semester). Have some specific objectives to evaluate for the year or at least some statement to frame your evaluation (e.g. do you want to focus on student engagement, assessment, digital learning…)? Even if you don’t have a plan in place (and you still can for semester 2), think about what you have available to you from semester 1. There were probably some formative activities you did with students that can help you reflect:

  • Teaching evaluation tools – there are a number of activities we use to inform our teaching. Did you use quizzes, Minute papers, observational techniques or Touchpoint to keep track of your students’ progress?
  • 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 consider the constructive alignment in your topic. Do the learning outcomes and the assessment still align?
  • Peer evaluation – peer evaluation is a terrific collegial process for gathering feedback on your teaching from a different perspective. Simply ask a colleague to come and review your teaching.

Remember that self-evaluation sets the foundation for all other types of evaluation and is an integral part of our own reflective 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.

Consider implementing some of these for semester 2 and think strategically how you can use this information. Teaching evaluation information is used for both job and promotion applications, awards and performance review documents. So put that plan in place now.

Written by Cassandra Hood

Academic Developer – CILT

Posted in
Teaching Notes

Leave a Reply