Evaluating your teaching

 The evaluation cycle    Evaluating your teaching using surveys    Peer review of teaching
 Order surveys from ITL    Other methods of evaluation    Student/staff liaison
     Reflection and action    
     Closing the feedback loop    

The evaluation cycle

  1. Collect data using surveys, focus groups, peer evaluation and other methods.
  2. Reflect on responses and take action.
  3. Communicate your intentions to students, tutors, and other stakeholders.

There are a range of methods to evaluate your teaching, and it is a good idea to use a variety of sources for the best outcome.

Whatever methods of evaluation you choose, it’s best to consider the unit of study (UoS) in terms of the effectiveness of the students’ learning experience, rather than as a reflection of your teaching methods or techniques.

The evaluation cycle

Evaluating your teaching using surveys

The Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL) provides a lot of support in using surveys to evaluate your teaching and your students’ learning experiences on their Teaching evaluation and enhancement service page. This site includes information on the UoS evaluation system and on Feedback for teachers (FFT).

Ordering your surveys from ITL
Allow plenty of time for ordering and delivery of your surveys from ITL. You can find out how and when to order each type of survey from the menu on the ITL Teaching evaluation and enhancement service site.

Other methods for evaluating your teaching

1. Mid-semester feedback
When data is not gathered until the end of the semester it can be too late to make adjustments to what might be major issues, particularly in new units of study.

2. Peer review of teaching
Peer observation is particularly useful if you are new to teaching at tertiary level, but can be a valuable experience at any stage of your teaching career.

  • It allows teachers to:
    - benefit from each other’s experience
    - get immediate evaluations of teaching
    - disseminate innovative approaches and good practices in teaching.
  • The ITL has suggestions for organising collaborative peer teaching activities to provide different perspectives on teaching.
  • ITL also provides information on their Teaching Insights page – see the topic Peer observation of teaching.
  • The Business School’s Collaborative Peer Review site contains useful information which is applicable across faculties, including an explanation of peer reviewing and suggestions on how to set it up.
  • This sample plan for Peer Observation of Teaching has been prepared by Rick Benitiz in Arts and Social Sciences. It includes suggestions for how to approach the feedback, and a checklist for the observer.

3. Student/staff liaison
Direct feedback from students can be gained through student/staff liaison arrangements or the student representation system in your faculty.

  • Find out who the student representatives are in your school, department or discipline.
  • Consider encouraging students to volunteer to be members of a student reference group in your UoS, and arrange to meet with these students a couple of times during semester.
  • Make sure your students are aware that they can take issues to their representatives or reference group, who can feed these back to staff through the appropriate channels.

4. The Four Lenses evaluation program
Developed in the Faculty of Arts, the ‘Four Lenses: evaluation resources’ site is based on Stephen Brookfield’s four lenses for critical reflection when evaluating teaching practice. The site contains very useful resources on teaching evaluations that are generally applicable across faculties.

5. Other methods and strategies
Further suggestions on ways of gathering feedback from the student cohort, and of responding to student feedback can be found on the ITL website.

Evaluating Teaching

Reflect and take action

Collecting the data is only the first step in the evaluation process.

Closing the feedback loop

It is important to respond to students’ evaluations so that they recognize that their constructive feedback contributes to improvements in the teaching program.

See Managing evaluation. for more information.