Assessing Your Teaching

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In addition to formal end-of-course evaluations and measurements of student learning, how can faculty document their teaching effectiveness or get ideas for new teaching strategies and methods?

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Method 1: Observation and reflection

Peer observation – Getting feedback from a colleague or other trained observer can often provide useful insight or new ideas for addressing instructional challenges.

Self-observation – Consider video-recording a class session for later review. Duke Learning Innovation can provide advice on the best ways to capture a class session on video.

Structured group reflection – In addition to one-on-one and self-observation, the teaching squares model (implemented at Duke as Visit a Classroom), a non-evaluative process of shared reflection, has also been an effective faculty development initiative at many institutions.

Method 2: Formal feedback from students

A midterm survey may help you decide how to modify your course. Use an online quiz or a one question poll in Sakai, a Qualtrics surve, or an in-class paper form to ask students their opinions. You can also ask Learning Innovation to conduct a midterm student feedback focus group activity with your class, and then review the results with a Learning Innovation consultant.

If you ask for feedback, make sure you use it. While it’s not always possible to make the changes that students suggest, be sure to acknowledge their suggestions with an in-class discussion or a posted response.


Visit a Classroom ProgramDuke University
Apply for our Visit a Classroom program, which provides Duke faculty with an opportunity to observe their colleagues teaching in their classrooms.

Using Focus Groups to Get Student FeedbackCarnegie Mellon University
Learn how to conduct a focus group and how to design questions that elicit feedback to enhance teaching effectiveness.

Small Group Instructional Feedback TechniqueUniversity of British Columbia
This site describes the process to conduct this mid-course, formative review process and the benefits to students and instructor.

Qualtrics University
Learn to use Qualtrics, a survey tool available to Duke users, to design mid-semester surveys to gather assessment and feedback data on your teaching.


Stark-Wroblewski, Kimberly. “Toward a More Comprehensive Approach to Evaluating Teaching Effectiveness: Supplementing Student Evaluations of Teaching with Pre-Post Learning Measures.” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education 32.4 (2007)

This study describes an approach for faculty to supplement student evaluations of teaching with pre-post learning measures to more comprehensively document their teaching effectiveness for the purpose of promotion and tenure review.

Remedios, Richard. “I Liked Your Course because You Taught Me Well: The Influence of Grades, Workload, Expectations and Goals on Students Evaluations of Teaching.” British Educational Research Journal 34.1 (2008)

This study analyzed different influences on student end of course ratings. Grades, course difficulty, and whether students had a mastery goal had small influences; the most significant influence was perceived quality of teaching.

Clayson, Dennis. “Student Evaluations of Teaching: Are They Related to What Students Learn?–A Meta-Analysis and Review of the Literature.” Journal of Marketing Education 31.1 (2009).

A meta-analysis of the literature which shows that a small average relationship exists between learning and the evaluations; however, the association is not applicable to all teachers, academic disciplines, or levels of instruction.

Contact us » Ready to get started, but need some help?