One of the most neglected aspects of explicit evaluation is self-evaluation. Ideally and logically, this should precede all other forms of evaluation. Self-evaluation can assist you to:
- improve the educational experiences you provide for your students
- identify the professional education you need to further develop your capacity to teach well
- prepare you for your performance review with your supervisor
- assess your readiness to apply for promotion and tenure.
Once you have worked out what you need to know about your teaching you can then set about choosing the most appropriate source of evaluation.
For more information and tools for self-review, refer to the Self-evaluation page.
Ideally you should take a regular review of where you are up to in teaching the course with your students. Formative evaluation gives a snapshot of learning at any particular point and allows for adjustment as necessary.
A brief writing task, such as those suggested below, can provide a quick formative evaluation to allow you to ascertain whether students understand the course material. Feedback given in this manner can be used to guide future teaching and to give a class some indication of their progress thus far.
The suggestions below link to pages you can download and use in your classes. Students' contributions can be anonymous, or not graded. Collect and briefly review students' responses before the next lecture. If your class is very large, analyse a random percentage of them.
The One Minute Paper
In the One Minute Paper (PDF 16KB) students write for one minute on:
- their understanding of the main idea or the most intriguing point of the lecture, and
- one or two questions that remain uppermost in their mind.
The Five Main Points
In the Five Main Points (PDF 15KB) exercise students are asked to give the five main points of the lecture. Some lecturers have found that, according to their students, they made 120 main points (the students were unable to distinguish anecdote from example and concepts).
In the Application Card (PDF 17KB) exercise students brainstorm some of the ideas discussed. They then select 2 of the ideas and illustrate ways that these ideas may be applied to everyday life.
The Muddiest Point
In the Muddiest Point (PDF 14KB) exercise students write for one minute about the idea that is least clear to them at that moment.
Peer review is an intentional process of gathering information and evidence about the effectiveness of the teaching/learning process and the educational environment, with a view to subjecting it to constructive critical scrutiny.
The purpose of this includes:
- providing assurance that students are able to achieve what the course requires them to achieve, and
- improving teaching practices.
Peers offer the capacity to critically review, improve and enhance teaching. Seeking and providing constructive critical peer feedback about teaching should be regarded as a fundamental aspect of the academic role . Peers are a valuable source of formative feedback on whether intentions are achieved in lectures and through the design of assessment.
How to conduct a peer review
Complete the following steps to conduct a peer review.
- Conduct a self-review in preparation for your peer review. To do this:
- evaluate your strengths, achievements, constraints and difficulties
- identify the aspect(s) of your teaching role that you want feedback about.
- Arrange a meeting with the peer reviewer in which you:
- present your view of the aspect(s) you would like taken into consideration
- consider the reviewer's indications of the aspects they consider are important in a review
- agree to a set of criteria, developed through negotiation, by which to conduct the review (these should represent the views of both participants).
- Conduct the review. Review activities could include:
- reviewing course materials and documents
- conducting focus groups
- teaching observation.
Note: Feedback from observations should be provided to the colleague immediately after any observation session, according to the jointly established criteria.
- Interpret and explain the findings. To do this, the reviewer should prepare an interim report that is negotiated and discussed with the person being reviewed.
- Respond to the findings. The academic being reviewed should be given an opportunity to discuss and explain:
- beliefs about and approach to teaching and learning
- reasons for the teaching and learning methods, and changes made
- constraints to teaching caused by decisions beyond an individual's control
- experimental or trial approaches undertaken with their attendant risks.
- Deliver the final report. The final report should:
- be the property of the person being evaluated
- contain explanations and interpretations that satisfy both reviewer and colleague
- be accurate and fair, highlighting the strengths of the staff member's teaching
- provide constructive criticism where appropriate
- address the agreed criteria.
For more information on peer review, refer to the Peer review page.
Flinders University has a standard mandatory instrument for gathering summative data from students about their response to teaching. It is called Student Evaluations of Teaching (SET). The standard instrument for gathering data on topics is called Student Evaluations of Topics (SET).
More information on Student Evaluation of Teaching can be found at http://planning.flinders.edu.au/set/progress