4.5 - Evaluation and Reflection
In this section:
A useful way in which to determine the effectiveness of group work, or indeed any teaching or assessing practices, is to reflect upon it by asking specific questions, and then actively answering these questions by evaluating chosen aspects of your teaching (for example: the learning and teaching environment, methods of teaching or assessments provided, your relationships with students, group processes and dynamics, achievement of learning outcomes, student participation and satisfaction … to name a few) in order to effect change. Reflection is an important aspect of evaluating one’s teaching practice.
Good, active, efficient and more critical reflection presents opportunities for productive and ongoing innovation, educational change and student learning. Closely related to reflection is the often more formal process of evaluation. Evaluation relates to any aspect of the learning and teaching environment, including the outcomes, aims, content, learning and teaching methods (like group work), assessments, and can come from many possible perspectives (your own, students, peers, colleagues, outside bodies).
If we wish to evaluate an aspect of your teaching, for example group work, then we should carefully consider the type of evaluation tool required or appropriate before the teaching process begins. When considering evaluating our group work we need to think about the whats, hows and whys of evaluation as part of the initial development and design process of the Unit of Study Outline. In this way, we are consciously linking learning outcomes - learning and teaching experiences - assessment strategies and various evaluations of these things, (and others when taking a more critical perspective on reflection and evaluation).
In these early outline development stages you might like to consider using an evaluation checklist in order to determine:
- who is to be evaluated (yourself, students, peers)
- who will be the evaluator (self, students, peers)
- why you are undertaking an evaluation process
- what information needs to be collected (what will you ask about, inquire into, or observe)
- what form of evaluation will best suite
- how and when will it be collected
- is there anything you should remain aware of during the evaluation process
- how is the information gathered to be used, and for what purposes
As with every part of your teaching the evaluation process must be linked to the overall learning outcomes of the unit of study.
Self evaluation involves student or teacher individually reflecting upon and evaluating their own contributions to the learning and teaching context or to specific aspects of this context (for example group work).
Peer evaluation involves student or teacher individually reflecting upon and evaluating the contribution of others to the learning and teaching context or specific aspects of this context, or having others evaluate their contributions. For staff this may involve having a colleague observe their teaching and providing an evaluation in the form of specific feedback. Each approach may or may not use an established set of criteria.
In addition to the many group work processes templates and ideas in Section Five, below we provide a number of relatively informal self, peer, and group evaluation forms plus some ideas on feedback for your benefit.