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Evaluation of Teaching

Using Multiple Forms of Evidence to Evaluate Teaching

Teaching is a complex activity, and the way that we evaluate teaching should ideally take into account this complexity. Although student evaluations of teaching (SETs) are often the primary way we think about evaluating teaching, there are many other sources that can be used to document effective teaching. Below is a list of sources that can be used in tandem to evaluate teaching effectiveness. 

Source Description and Resources
Peer observation

The instructor asks a colleague to observe one or more class sessions. Peer observation can be either formative in nature (focusing primarily on feedback and growth) or evaluative (focusing primarily on evaluating the effectiveness of the session and perhaps resulting in a summative letter from the observer).

Syllabus review

The instructor asks a colleague to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the course syllabus using a predetermined set of criteria. Syllabus review can also be conducted as a self-assessment by the instructor.


Self-assessments provide a way for instructors to reflect on their practice and identify their strengths and areas for growth.

Direct and indirect measures of student learning

Measures of student learning seek to provide quantitative or qualitative evidence of student performance at a particular time point or student growth over time. Direct measures could include student pretests and posttests, while indirect measures could include student self-assessments of learning.

Student feedback

Student feedback can take a variety of forms, including formal student evaluations of teaching conducted by the university (SETs) as well as informal surveys that the instructor uses to elicit feedback from students.

Teaching portfolio

A teaching portfolio is a collection of various sources of evidence that has been assembled by the instructor. Within the portfolio, the instructor may also present written reflections, interpretations, and connections among the sources included.

Additional Resources

Linse, A. R. (2017). Interpreting and using student ratings data: Guidance for faculty serving as administrators and on evaluation committees. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 54, 94-106.

Reihman, G. (2004). Making sense of student evaluations. Lehigh University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning.


Page author:
Dr. Rachel Stumpf

Last updated:
November 27, 2023