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Assessment of Teaching

Research indicates that, while student opinions of teaching surveys provide valuable student feedback, triangulating data by assessing teaching using multiple methods like reviews of course materials, peer observations, and instructor self-reflections provides a more complete picture of overall teaching effectiveness. In order to best support instructors in exploring various methods of assessment to improve their teaching and academic units in establishing and sustaining cultures of teaching excellence, the University Center for Teaching and Learning provides two levels of support:

  • Help for individual instructors and academic units in planning, conducting, and interpreting and using the results of formative assessments for the purpose of improving teaching.
  • Help for academic units in planning, selecting or developing tools, training instructors how to use processes and tools, and interpreting results of summative assessments in order to make hiring, promotion, or tenure decisions or plan unit-wide teaching improvement efforts.

The Teaching Center can assist with the following:

Planning Systematic Assessment of Teaching in Your School or Department

Teaching Center staff can provide you with resources, tools, feedback, and guidance as you develop a plan for assessment of teaching in tailored to the needs of your academic unit.

Read more about Planning Systematic Assessment of Teaching

Collecting Student Feedback

The Teaching Center assists faculty with gathering, interpreting, and making improvements to teaching based on several types of student feedback: mid-semester student feedback, small group instructional diagnoses, and student opinion of teaching surveys.

Read more about Collecting Student Feedback

Classroom Observations

Observation reports provide instructors with an anonymous summary of teaching practices observed by a teaching consultant during multiple class sessions and feedback to be used to improve teaching and learning. Data is collected using an adaptable, Teaching Center-developed tool (linked below) based on research-proven teaching best practices discussed in How Learning Works (Ambrose, 2010) and Teaching at Its Best (Nilson, 2016).

Observation reports should not be considered evidence of overall teaching effectiveness. The purpose of teaching consultants conducting observations is typically to provide feedback to inform improvements to teaching.

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Departmental Peer Assessment

Teaching Center staff will work with your department to identify or develop protocols and/or tools tailored to the needs of the department to conduct peer reviews and observations of teaching. We can also help train instructors to perform observations and provide constructive feedback.

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Teaching Portfolios

Teaching portfolios allow instructors to document the scope and quality of their teaching performance with evidence from a variety of sources such as syllabi, graded student work, feedback from students and observers, their own self-assessments and reflections, and more. Teaching Center staff can assist academic units in establishing criteria for teaching portfolios and instructors at any stage in the process of developing their own teaching portfolios. Academic units and instructors interested in requesting one-on-one consultations can submit requests at teaching@pitt.edu. Instructors can also register to attend regularly offered workshops on developing teaching portfolios.

Read more about Teaching Portfolios

Course Reviews

Teaching Center staff conduct syllabus, course material, lesson plan, learning activity, course shell, and/or assessment reviews and provide feedback for improvement. They can also assist academic units in developing processes and standards for conducting peer course reviews and help train instructors to carry out reviews and deliver feedback to colleagues.

Read more about Course Reviews
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