Centre for Teaching and Learning

Evaluating Teaching

“Evaluation of teaching shall be multifaceted. Multifaceted evaluation shall include the Universal Student Ratings of Instruction set out in Section 111.3 and other methods of assessing teaching designed within the individual Faculties to respond to the particular conditions of that Faculty. Such assessments shall include one or more of the following: input from administrators, peers, self, undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni” (General Faculties Council policy, section 111.2).

Professor Neil Haave's (Biology, Augustana) editorial for the journal Collected Essays on Teaching and Learning summarizes some of the challenges as well as some research-based tools available to us for evaluating teaching:

Haave, N. (2017). Assessing Teaching to Empower Learning. Collected Essays on Learning and Teaching, 10. http://dx.doi.org/10.22329/celt.v10i0.4910

Also see UofA's 2015 Multifaceted Summative Evaluation of Teaching Symposium:

Price, R. (2015). Achievements and Challenges of UBC's Peer Review of Teaching initiative: a View from the Faculty of Arts. Available at:

Student Evaluations of Teaching

A nice summary of the literature can be found on the blog of Regan Gurung. He writes:

"Some findings to note:

  • Small class sizes and outliers (extreme student ratings) can skew averages.
  • Frequency scores and distributions are key in SETs, do not over emphasize means.
  • Students may have biases towards female instructors and instructors of color which need to be acknowledged and factored into any review.
  • Although online completion shows low response rates, having students complete them online in class should help.
  • Faculty need to be committed to the value of their SET and convey this to students (something both students and faculty mentioned is not happening).
  • Let’s not forget many factors may contribute to a particular student’s evaluation of you."

R Gurung. (2017, January 14). The Agony and the ecstasy of student teaching evaluations. [Web log comment].
Retrieved from http://pedagogicalpundit.com/uncategorized/the-agony-and-the-ecstasy-of-student-teaching-evaluations/

also see:

Boysen, G. A. (2015). Uses and Misuses of Student Evaluations of Teaching The Interpretation of Differences in Teaching Evaluation Means Irrespective of Statistical Information. Teaching of Psychology. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0098628315569922

Boysen, G. A. (2016). Using student evaluations to improve teaching: Evidence-based recommendations. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 2(4), 273-284. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/stl0000069

Winer, L., DiGenova, L., Costopoulos, A., & Cardoso, K. (2016). Addressing Common Concerns about Online Student Ratings of Instruction: A Research-Informed Approach. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 46(4), 115-131. http://journals.sfu.ca/cjhe/index.php/cjhe/article/view/186112/pdf

Peer Review of Teaching

Peer review is one way to address multifaceted evaluation of teaching. It can include not only peer observations, but also assessment of a teaching portfolio which could consist of curricula vitae, student evaluations, syllabi and other course artefacts, and reflections on teaching.
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