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Assessing and improving teaching

Assessing and improving teaching is best accomplished when multiple sources of evidence — self-reflection, student feedback and peer observation — are well understood. At CTL we propose making use of these multiple source of evidence to obtain a holistic picture of an instructor’s approach and effectiveness.

Self-reflection on teaching

Self-reflection is the cornerstone of a healthy, effective teaching practice. Keeping track of what’s working (or not working) in the classroom can help you improve your ability to engage students. End-of-term summaries can also help you reflect on your teaching and provide excellent fodder for developing new classes or improving existing classes.

Developing a reflective teaching practice

Gathering student feedback

Gathering information from your students about their experience as learners in your class is a valuable way to assess your teaching. There are many ways of collecting feedback from your students:  Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGIDs), surveys, webQ’s and open-ended feedback forms. Which method is best, depends on your assessment objectives and the kind of information you need.

Gathering student feedback

Collaborating with colleagues

Faculty may find colleague “peer reviews” a valuable way to gain multiple perspectives on teaching and learning as well as a welcome addition to tenure files. Observations are most effective when approached as a collaboration meant to benefit all involved.

Collaborating with colleagues

Assessing student learning

Practices related to grading — both as an assessment of student performance and as a mechanism through which students receive feedback on their work — vary widely across disciplines, course levels, departments, institutions and instructors. However, there are several strategies that most instructors agree contribute to successful grading: creating clear grading criteria, communicating these criteria to students, giving constructive feedback and employing time management strategies when grading large amounts of student work.

Assessing student learning

Hybrid and online course assessment

Developed by the UW Digital Learning Alliance, this rubric is a tool instructors can use to guide their evaluation of their own or a colleague’s hybrid or online teaching. The rubric reflects practices that have been shown to increase learner engagement and success in online learning environments.

Hybrid and online course evaluation rubric

A guide to best practice for evaluating teaching

While the UW community values great teaching, how we evaluate teaching varies across departments, schools, colleges and our three campuses. This guide combines evidence-based and national best practices with insights from across the UW to support departments and individual faculty in the development and assessment of teaching.

Best practices for evaluating teaching