How to Evaluate Teaching (1/2 day)

The usual way to evaluate how well a course was taught is to survey the students at the end of the course and compile and average the ratings. If the rating form was carefully designed and validated, this procedure provides unique and important information, but student ratings alone are not adequate to provide a good comprehensive evaluation of teaching quality. Students are not in a position to judge certain aspects of instruction, such as whether the course learning objectives were appropriate, the content was up-to-date, the instruction followed well-established pedagogical principles, and the instructor had an adequate mastery of the subject. Only peers can do that. Recognizing this situation, a growing number of institutions have begun to include peer review of teaching in faculty performance evaluations, but there are problems here as well. In many peer reviews a faculty member simply observes a single lecture, notes whatever catches his or her attention, draws conclusions that may reflect questionable preconceptions of what constitutes good teaching, and files a report. This procedure does not provide a fair, reliable, or valid assessment of teaching quality: an observation conducted by a different observer or by the same observer on another day could lead to completely different conclusions.

There are better ways to evaluate teaching. The goals of this workshop are to outline methods that have been proved effective and to equip department heads and their faculties to design a reliable and valid evaluation process for their department.

For whom intended

College administrators, department heads, and faculty members.

Topics addressed

  • How can I get reliable and valid student evaluations of teaching?
  • How can I get reliable and valid peer ratings of teaching?
  • How can I evaluate teaching performance comprehensively and effectively?
  • How can I use evaluations to improve teaching quality (formative evaluation)?

Contact Richard Felder for information about scheduling and fees.