Assess teaching

Teaching assessment process

Teaching assessment involves data collection from accepted analysis methods to draw conclusions and make recommendations about instruction. Instruction includes any activity, innovation, or course that supports the interaction between students, faculty and content with the aim of learning.

All types of teaching assessment should follow a planning, gathering data, and reporting results process consisting of the following steps:



Describe the teaching context

Descriptions convey the mission and objectives of the instructional activity, innovation or course and include information about its purpose or statement of need, expected effects, available resources, and instructional context. Descriptions set the frame of reference for all subsequent planning decisions in an assessment.


Identify stakeholders and their needs

The needs of stakeholders (i.e. students, instructor, and department) generally reflect the central questions the stakeholders have about the instructional activity, innovation or course.

Determining stakeholder needs helps to focus the assessment process so that the results are of the greatest utility.  


Determine the assessment purpose

Identifying a clear purpose helps determine how the assessment should be conducted. Three general purposes for assessing teaching are to gain insight, change practices, and/or measure effects.


Identify intended uses

Intended uses are the specific ways assessment results will be applied. They are the underlying goals of the assessment and are linked to the central questions of the study that identify the specific aspects of the instructional activity, innovation or course to be examined.


Create an assessment  plan

The assessment plan is a detailed description of how the assessment will be implemented that includes identification of the resources available for implementing the plan, what information is to be gathered, the research method(s) to be used, a description of the roles and responsibilities of the instructor and/or assessor and a timeline for accomplishing tasks. [more]

Example of an assessment plan

Gathering Data


Gather data

Data gathering focuses on information acquisition that will convey a well-rounded picture of the instructional activity, innovation or course.

Data gathering includes consideration about what indicators, data sources and methods to use, the quality and quantity of the information, human subject protections, and the context in which the data gathering occurs. [more]

Reporting Results


Analyze data

Data analysis involves identifying patterns in the data, either by isolating important findings (analysis) or by combining sources of information to reach a larger understanding (synthesis), and making decisions about how to organize, clasify, interrelate, compare, and display information.   These decisions are guided by the questions being asked, the types of data available, and by input from stakeholders.   The end products of data analysis are typically called findings or results.  


Make conclusions

Conclusions are linked to the study findings and judged against agreed-upon standards.   Conclusions are interpretations of findings that help to explain their significance.  


Report results

When assessing your teaching, reporting results, or dissemination, may be as simple as informally sharing the findings and conclusions with students and colleagues.   Be sure to report noticeable response patterns, your general impressions, and how results will be used to make course or instructional improvements.  [more]

Adapted from the following sources:

Center for Disease Control Evaluation Working Group. Steps in Program Evaluation. http://www.cdc.gov/eval/steps.htm Retrieved July 6, 2006.

Joint Committee on Educational Evaluation, James R. Sanders (chair). 1994. The Program Evaluation Standards: How to assess evaluation of educational programs, 2 nd ed. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA

Popham, James W. 1993. Educational Evaluation, 3 rd ed. Allyn & Bacon: Boston.

Taylor-Powell E., Rossing B., Geran J. 1998. Evaluating Collaboratives: Reaching the potential. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension.

University of Washington, Office of Educational Assessment. Evaluation Planning Guide. http://www.washington.edu/oea/evaluatn.htm Retrieved March 26, 2004, link no longer active.

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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