Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness


Teaching can be evaluated for the improvement of practice (formative evaluation) and for personnel decisions such as promotion and tenure (summative evaluation). The links below offer research, guidelines, and practical suggestions for using multiple data sources to assess teaching effectiveness for both purposes.


What is Effective Teaching? What Can Be Evaluated

Considering Evaluation: What Can Be Evaluated:
This page provides a list of possible criteria for evaluating teaching within and beyond the classroom, offers discussions of the qualities of good teaching, and describes 5 different “stakeholders” who can evaluate teaching, including self evaluation.

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Approaches to Evaluating Teaching

Defining and Evaluating College Teaching,” William E. Cashin, Kansas State University. (IDEA Paper #21, September 1989). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Reviews the various kinds of data used to evaluate college teaching, presents an expanded definition of college teaching based on seven areas of teaching responsibility, and suggests that multiple sources of data be used to evaluate college teaching.

Appraising Teaching Effectiveness: Beyond Student Ratings,” Donald P. Hoyt and William H. Pallett. (IDEA Paper #36, November 1999). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Discusses the value, limitations, and problems of several methods used to gather data about teaching effectiveness. Makes recommendations for their use based on faculty status as first-year, non-tenured, or tenured faculty.
Appendices A through D at the end of Paper #36 provide instruments for assessing teaching.

Guidelines for Evaluating Teaching (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).
A list of principles and data sources from students, colleagues, and self-reflection.

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Student Ratings of Teaching

Student Ratings of Teaching: Recommendations for Use,” William E. Cashin, Kansas State University. (IDEA Paper #22, January 1990). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
This paper makes 34 recommendations for the effective and appropriate use of student ratings of teaching.

Questions Frequently Asked About Student Ratings Forms: Summary of Research Findings,” Matthew Kaplan, Lisa A. Mets, Constance E. Cook. (University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching).
FAQs and answers based on research into student evaluations of teaching. Has extensive bibliography.

Research Report:  Race and Gender Bias in Student Evaluations of Teaching” compiled by Therese Huston, Seattle University, 2005, updated October 31, 2005.
This report summarizes the key empirical findings of research on race, gender, and the interaction of race and gender. Lists key findings and limitations of current research in this area. 

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Peer Review of Teaching

Peer Review of Teaching (University of Minnesota, Center for Teaching and Learning Services).
Guidelines, instruments, and other resources for helping departments establish or improve a peer review process. Includes materials for instructors who are being reviewed or acting as a reviewer and links to other sites with information on peer review of teaching.

Peer Review of Teaching (North Carolina State University)
Guidelines for formative and summative peer evaluation of teaching, including procedures for classroom observations and a summary of best practices.

Peer Observation and Assessment of Teaching (University of Albany, Institute for Teaching, Learning & Academic Leadership).
A resource book for evaluating teaching through the use of peer observation.  Useful in-depth description of using peer observation for formative and summative purposes, developing departmental plans for its use, and designing instruments to guide peer observation. Also provides downloadable forms.  

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Teaching Portfolios

The Teaching Portfolio,” Matthew Kaplan (Occasional Paper #11, 1998, University of Michigan, Center for Research on Learning and Teaching). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Provides an overview of teaching portfolios, their description, purposes, evaluation, and use.

Promoting a Culture of Teaching: The Teaching Portfolio,” Speaking of Teaching, Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching, Vol. 7, No. 3, Spring 1996 Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
More useful information on the creation and use of a teaching portfolio.

Developing a Teaching Portfolio (Ohio State University, Faculty and TA Development).
Practical guide to developing a teaching portfolio.

Teaching Portfolio Resources (Center for Instructional Development and Research, University of Washington).
This site provides links to resources, materials, and examples helpful in developing a teaching portfolio.

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Evaluating Your Own Teaching,” L. Dee Fink. From Improving College Teaching by Peter Seldin (ed.), Anker, 1995, Ch. 16, pp. 191-204. (University of Oklahoma, Instructional Development Program).
This chapter urges faculty members to develop a comprehensive plan for evaluating their own teaching for continuous improvement. Describes 5 techniques for collecting self-evaluation data.
Using Student Evaluations to Improve Teaching,” Speaking of Teaching, Stanford University’s Newsletter on Teaching, Vol. 9, No. 1, Fall 1997
Specific and detailed suggestions for analyzing student ratings and comments, and using them to improve teaching in particular areas.

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Institutional Handbooks on Evaluating Teaching

The two institutionally produced evaluation handbooks described below are intended to encourage consistency in evaluating teaching throughout the university. Each one provides guidelines and resources for faculty as well as department chairs, deans, and other administrators.

University of North Dakota, Office of Instructional Development, Resources for Teaching Evaluation.
This well-organized online handbook is based on sound principles and provides resources for individual faculty members and departments on multiple aspects of teaching evaluation.

Cornell University Teaching Evaluation Handbook.
A comprehensive five-chapter online handbook designed to assist faculty, tenure committees, and administrators in pursuing a fair, rigorous, and thorough faculty evaluation process.

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