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 (Berk, 2005; Burdsal & Harrison, 2008; Gormally, Evans & Brickman, 2008). 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 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.
- 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.
Berk, R.A. (2005). Survey of 12 strategies to measure teaching effectiveness. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 17(1).
Burdsal, C.A. & Harrison, P.D. (2008). Further evidence supporting the validity of both a multidimensional profile and an overall evaluation of teaching effectiveness. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(5), 567-576. doi: 10.1080/02602930701699049 (NOTE: To access this content, you must be logged in or log into the University Library System.)
Gormally, C., Evans, M, & Brickman, P. (2014). Feedback about teaching in higher ed: Neglected opportunities to promote change. CBE-Life Sciences Education, 13, 187-199. doi: 10.1187/CBE.13-12-0235
The Teaching Center can assist with the following:
Collecting Student Feedback
The Teaching Center assists faculty with gathering, interpreting, and making improvements to teaching based on several types of student feedback: midterm course surveys, small group instructional diagnoses, and student opinion of teaching surveys. The Teaching Center’s Office of Measurement and Evaluation of Teaching (OMET) offers a midterm survey option and conducts end-of-term surveys for most schools.
Formative Observations from the Teaching Center
Observation reports provide instructors with a 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 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 to provide feedback to inform improvements to teaching.
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. Teaching Center staff can also help train instructors to perform observations and provide constructive feedback.
Self-assessments allow instructors to reflect upon and describe their teaching and learning goals, challenges, and accomplishments. The format of self-assessments vary and can include reflective statements, activity reports, or can entail using a tool like the Wieman Teaching Practices Inventory. Teaching Center staff can offer individual instructors feedback on their self-assessments and recommendations for how to use results to improve teaching. The Teaching Center can also help schools and departments select, design, and teach instructors to use self-assessment tools.
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. Depending on their purpose, teaching portfolios can be used:
- Formatively, to help instructors reflect upon and improve their teaching
- Summatively, to inform hiring, promotion, and tenure decision-making
Teaching Center staff can assist academic units in establishing criteria for teaching portfolios and can help 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Instructors can also register to attend regularly offered workshops on developing teaching portfolios.
Assessment of Mentoring
The University’s commitment to institutional assessment complements its promotion of a culture of mentoring. The Center for Mentoring, in partnership with the Assessment of Teaching Initiative at the University Center for Teaching and Learning, provides resources and guidance for faculty and program supervisors wishing to assess mentoring at the individual and programmatic levels. Please feel free to reach out to the Center for Mentoring as you formulate or update your assessment plan, including:
- defining mentoring in your field/program
- identifying specific mentoring competencies
- data types and collection methods (best practices in designing questionnaires, pre- and post-surveys, mentee placement and career performance metrics)
Additionally, the Center for Mentoring provides the following annotated bibliography of research in the assessment of mentoring.
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 can help train instructors to carry out reviews and deliver feedback to colleagues.
Instructors can request confidential consultations with a teaching consultant to receive individualized support to help improve and assess their teaching. Consultants can offer pedagogy recommendations and feedback on:
- syllabus design
- course objectives
- organization and sequencing of course content and assignments
- instructional activities
- grading schemes
- use of technology to support student learning
- integrating innovative instructional techniques