Teaching effectiveness is typically assessed for both formative (to provide the instructor with feedback about what is working well – or is not – in their classes) and summative/evaluative (to make a determination about teaching effectiveness for purposes of contract renewal, tenure, or promotion) reasons. Both kinds of assessment should ideally be done from the perspective of three different constituents: the faculty members themselves, their peers, and their students.
Dr. Chavella Pittman emphasizes that it is not possible to evaluate effective teaching without knowing the instructor’s goals for the course (or the specific class, in the case of a peer observation). Assessing an instructor’s teaching based on the evaluator’s idea of what constitutes good teaching makes the process particularly vulnerable to bias and risks punishing innovative pedagogical practices. There is widespread agreement that the most effective evaluation of teaching includes multiple sources of evidence and multiple ways of collecting that evidence (see, e.g, the TEval Multidimensional Evaluation of Teaching site). Until the end of October, 2021, all Macalester faculty have access to Dr. Pittman’s online course about evaluating effective teaching and inclusive teaching practices. Click for more information and a sign up form.
If you’re looking for strategies for reflecting on your own teaching (for the purposes of a Professional Development Plan or the Annual Addendum), check out the following resources:
- Gathering feedback and documenting professional growth in teaching (University of Minnesota Center for Educational Innovation)
- Lang, J. M. (2010) “4 Steps to a Memorable Teaching Philosophy,” (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Ways to Self-Assess Your Teaching (UCLA Center for Education Innovation and Learning in the Sciences)
Feedback from peers
Recommended resources for (and reflections about) classroom observations and peer assessment of teaching materials:
- Gleason, N. W. and Sanger, C. S. (2017), “Guidelines for Peer Observation of Teaching: A Sourcebook for International Liberal Arts Learning” Centre for Teaching and Learning, Yale-NUS College, Singapore.
- Bandy, J. (2015). Peer Review of Teaching. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.
- Instruments for conducting peer review (scroll down to bottom of page; University of Minnesota)
- Lang, J. M. (2019). We don’t trust course evaluations, but are peer observations of teaching much better? (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Feedback from students
All faculty are required to solicit feedback from their students at the end of every semester. In the spring of 2021, the faculty passed the Educational Policy and Governance’s (EPAG) proposal about end of course surveys. Data from the surveys are intended to be reviewed by the faculty member and their department chair only. There is no expectation that end of course survey data be shared in the context of pre-tenure, tenure, or promotion reviews.
Collecting mid-semester feedback is an important way to check in with your students to see how the class is going from their perspective, and to make adjustments should you decide any are warranted. The Serie Center offers a Mid-Course Interview (MCI) process that many colleagues find extremely useful.
If you’re looking for a way to evaluate inclusive teaching practices, check out the newly developed Supplemental Evaluation of Inclusive Teaching Practices.
For pre-tenure, tenure, promotion, and NTT reviews, student feedback is solicited by the Vice Provost’s office.