Evaluation methods

From WikiEducator
Jump to: navigation, search

When critiquing a teaching session, as well as self-evaluation, it's crucial to include feedback from others in our reflection - this ensures our critique reflects more than just our own assumptions! In an earlier topic, Facilitation methods, we used feedback from peer observation (teaching observation) as a source of data. For this topic, you are also asked to reflect on the teaching observation feedback using the reflective guide section (page 4) in the Full Teaching Observation template.

In this topic, we also look at methods for gathering feedback from the learners. They are usually a primary source of feedback (along with peers) when evaluating a single teaching session or series of teaching sessions. Obtaining feedback from learners on teaching sessions is generally done differently compared to the formal evaluations of courses and the performance of teachers, required by organisations. You are advised to investigate how formal course and teaching evaluations in your organisation are carried out.

Evaluation methods can also gather feedback from other stakeholders, especially when evaluating a whole programme or course during annual review, or design, development and implementation. These methods of evaluation will be covered in the last module.

OP icon exclamation.gif

Please note

Keep in mind the distinction between evaluation and assessment:

The purpose is to gather feedback about how effectively the session has been planned and facilitated. But it does not provide any direct evidence of the extent to which the learners have achieved the session objectives.
We often carry out a formative assessment at the end of a session to see how well the learners have achieved the session objectives. But this does not provide direct evidence in terms of how effectively the session has been planned and facilitated.

This topic deals with evaluation, not assessment.

Formal and informal evaluation

The purpose of the evaluation determines whether it will be formal or informal. Formal evaluations of teaching are usually used as indicators of performance, either for annual review purposes or for professional advancement. They take some time to set up and involve collecting specific data and analysis of it for formal reporting. In contrast, informal evaluation of your teaching sessions can be done quickly and the information you gather is for your use only. It can give you a quick indication of what is going well or not working for students, allowing you to improve matters. For example, if the approach you used in class did not help them to understand the concepts you covered, then you will have to try something different.

Formal evaluations

These can include teacher observations as well as course evaluations and teacher evaluations where feedback is gathered from students using specific organisational methods. These are usually summative evaluations as they are done at the end of a course.

If you introduce a new teaching method or implement an innovation, you will most likely want to gather formal evaluation data so that you can report on the success of your approach. This could be done during the course (formative) or at the end (summative). A tertiary practitioner's guide to collecting evidence of learner benefit, published by Ako Aotearoa, is particularly useful for planning formal evaluation of teaching.

Gathering formal feedback will be useful for developing your portfolio in this course. This will take the form of a teacher observation, and formal feedback from learners who participate in a session that you facilitate. For example, you might gather feedback about a presentation that you give to the class.

Formal feedback can be gathered using a number of methods:

  • open-ended structured questions (asked in class or on a discussion forum or email) - qualitative;
  • surveys (paper or online) - Likert-type scales - quantitative - with or without open-ended questions;
  • focus groups (discussion of specific items); and
  • interviews - group or individual (unstructured or structured questions).

Informal evaluations

Gathering feedback for improving our teaching practice can be time-consuming for learners. So less formal methods for gathering quick feedback at the end of a session or activity are worth considering. These are generally formative since the data you gather will inform the next session of teaching.

For example:

  1. At the end of the session, the teacher displays a few simple questions, each labelled (e.g, A, B, C etc). These might be displayed on a real or virtual whiteboard, or as a PowerPoint slide. Sample questions:
    A. What was most helpful for you in this session?
    B. What was least helpful for you in this session?
    C. Overall, how effective was the session in helping you understand? Rate from 1 (very unhelpful) to 5 (very helpful).
  2. Learners record the question label and a response - this could be on a slip of paper which is left in a collection box on the way out, sent as a text message to a mobile number, or provided via 'clickers' if these are in use.
  3. Stop, Start, Continue is another example of how to gather informal feedback.
  4. A quick survey on a course blog can be conducted at any time during a course to obtain learners' feedback about specific components of your teaching sessions.

Although informal methods can be quick and effective for evaluating a single session, they do not usually provide in-depth information on teaching effectiveness. For the purposes of your critique as part of your portfolio, we recommend you use a more formal method such as survey or group process.

Survey methods

Surveys comprise a set of questions, often including some multiple choice and ratings (e.g., 1 to 5) as well as open questions. Because surveys take some time to complete, they are not often used for evaluating single sessions. However, they can be useful when we wish to look in depth at single session - as is the case for your portfolio.

Surveys may be on paper or online. But note that most (for example, Moodle's Survey tool) are more suitable for evaluation of a whole course rather than a single session.

OP icon activity.gif


  • Find out what survey tools are available in your institution for gathering feedback on teaching.
  • Consider whether any of these could be used for gathering data for your own critique - modifications might be necessary!

Group methods

Groups methods usually take the form of a focus group, group discussion or a facilitated structured process such as Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID). Check out Ferris State University's guide to the stages of the SGID process.

A key advantage of group methods such as SGID is that they can provide in-depth qualitative feedback on what has worked well and not so well. However, they tend to be time-consuming and generally require an independent person other than the teacher to facilitate the group process.

While not usually used for evaluating a single session, an SGID or other group process could be very useful in providing in-depth data for your own critique.

OP icon activity.gif


  • Find out whether SGID or some other structured group process is available in your institution for gathering feedback on teaching. This may be a service that can be requested from a central teaching development unit or similar.
  • Consider whether this service could be used for gathering data for your own critique - if so, discuss and make an arrangement for the facilitator to carry it out after your teaching session.


Extra resources

Teaching evaluation and critique

OP icon activity.gif


Critique the teaching session you facilitated in the previous topic, preferably with a mentor.

  1. Beforehand, complete the reflective guide section (page 4) in the Full Teaching Observation template.
  2. Consider the feedback from the observer as well as feedback from learners and your written reflections.
  3. Consider both:
    • The effectiveness of the planning process - how well prepared you were for the session.
    • The effectiveness of your facilitation of the learning activities and management of the learning environment.