Multi-modal Evaluation of Teaching
All of the DU reports on teaching excellence recommend using mutliple methods (beyond just student rating forms) to fairly evaluate teaching performance. Many reports recommend annual review of teaching and “enhanced” review at specific intervals. Teaching review would be based on an articulated breakdown of sources of evidence developed by each unit/dept.
Although there are varying opinions and research around Student Evaluations of Teaching (SETs)/Student Ratings of Instruction (SRIs), most agree that they should not be used as the sole basis of evaluating someone's teaching performance and effort.
Teaching Evaluation Toolkit
The OTL website has a Teaching Evaluation Toolkit with ideas and resources about multiple methods for evaluating teaching.
It is worth articulating assumptions and guiding principles for a process of supporting, rewarding and ultimately evaluating teaching.
- Learning to teach is not a one-time endeavor. Teaching is a lifelong practice that involves ongoing reflection and engagment in continuous improvement. The support, reward and evaluation of teaching should take a developmental approach.
- Instructors all have different developmental trajectories, different interests, strengths, and contexts for teaching. Therefore plenty of choice and flexibility should be provided within some required areas of development. The process should be indivdiualized and self-directed.
- There is no one "right way" to teach. But at the same time, there are widely agreed-upon evidence-based standards of best practice.
- In order to improve teaching, reflection by the instructor is essential. The intellectual work of teaching - the deeper thinking about ones teaching practice - is harder to represent and evaluate than the more superficial aspects of teaching.
- Any summative judgment about an instructor's teaching should be based on mulitple types of data points collected from multiple sources (students, instructor, chair, peer/colleagues, external experts). Qualitative or narrative sources of evidence are essential due to the complicated nature of teaching.
- The main focus of teaching support and evaluation should be on the process of continually enhancing the teaching pracice.
Examples at DU
Many units across DU are exploring and implementing more balanced frameworks for evaluating teaching.