Course Evaluation

The Best Choice .... according to the experts

Ferraro Smith – "The main goal of evaluation is to improve learning. In classroom settings, evaluation centers on the quality of instruction, the environment and the course materials, as well as knowledge and application test scores".


  1. Instructors should evaluate the quality of their teaching in order to improve it.
  2. Instructors should know if the students are learning what they should learn.
  3. Instructors should know if the course fits into the goals of the department.
  4. Good course evaluation is important in promotion and tenure processes.

Basic Information

Different types of evaluation according to time
Types of evaluation Description
Formative Evaluation Usually conducted during the process of instruction to evaluate student learning in order to improve teaching.
Summative Evaluation Conducted at the end of the instruction to determine the effectiveness of the teaching/learning process.

Some questions to consider

  1. What do you want to know about the effectiveness of your teaching?
  2. What information are you required to provide about student successes?
  3. Do you need evaluations for promotion and tenure processes?
  4. Would you like to measure attitude about your discipline at the beginning and end of the course?

Feedback from different sources

(Robert Gordon University, 1998)

You can gather the feedback about the effectiveness of teaching from:

  • Classroom observation
  • Students assessment
  • Teaching staff
  • Other "stakeholders" such as employers, former students, external examiners, etc.

Course evaluation methods

  1. Penn State Student Rating of Teaching Effectiveness (SRTE)
    1. "a dependable instrument that probably produces consistent student ratings of individual instructor quality." (Dooris, 1997).
    2. "the most widely used and visible means of teaching evaluation." (Dooris, 1997).
  2. Penn State Flashlight Questions for ANGEL: Penn State instructors can upload into their ANGEL course a set of about three hundred questions sorted into multiple categories.  Categories of questions include:
    1. Teaching and learning
    2. Teaching, learning and technology
    3. Student satisfaction
    4. Self-reported learning outcomes
    5. Open-ended questions
  3. Self-evaluation
    1. based on subjective evaluation of classroom performance by the individual professor
    2. requires both reflections (self assessment) and input from other sources (Indiana State University 1998)
  4. Peer evaluation
    1. typically takes the form of classroom observations, review of instructional materials, and critiques of course design (Indiana State University 1998)

How to evaluate courses

Don't wait until the end of the course to evaluate teaching.

  1. Mid-semester evaluation. You should collect feedback while there is still time to do something about it. Reflect on things as follows ("Collecting midsemester feedback," 1995):
    1. Is the course moving too slowly? Or too quickly?
    2. Does the absence of questions indicate comprehension? Or confusion?
    3. How do students feel about being in the class?
    4. Are they more interested in the subject matter, or less, than they were at the start?
    5. What's the most important thing they have learned thus far?
  2. Develop a teaching portfolio to collect multiple sources about teaching effectiveness (University of Michigan, 2002).
    1. A teaching portfolio is a "factual description of a professor's major strengths and teaching achievements. It describes documents and materials which collectively suggest the scope and quality of a professor's teaching performance" (Seldin, 1997, p. 3).
    2. Collect samples of teaching materials such as syllabi, assignments, etc.
    3. Collect samples of students' learning such as papers, projects, etc.
  3. Review and reflect on teaching process.
    1. Reflections on the choice of class activities
    2. Reflections on specific measurements
    3. Reflections on the ways to provide feedback, etc.