Assess teaching

Observation conclusions

Do the results answer the central questions upon which the assessment was based? What can be done to improve teaching or learning based upon the results? What changes in instructor behavior do the results suggest? These questions are a few of the inquiries an instructor may try to answer based on the data analysis.   If the results of the first observation strongly suggest a change in behavior or instructional approach, make the appropriate adjustments and use subsequent observations to document changes.

Example 1: Checklist

After the first observation, Professor Richards realized that she needed to make more transitions, periodically summarize material, and better connect points and topics. By the third observation, her organization was greatly improved, and her colleague suggested that she just needed to continue working on clarifying connections between topics.

Example 2: Ratings

After discussion with his colleague, Dr. Smith recognized that he needed to create more engaging interactive exercises and to provide more detailed directions. Because a few students had been doing most of the work, he devised ways to involve all students in the exercises. To better recognize signs of boredom, Dr. Smith asked his colleague to describe the nonverbal cues he observed. The colleague observed two later lectures and noted greater student engagement. The ratings total increased from 13 to 15 out of 20 points.

Example 3: Narrative

Reading through the narrative log and getting feedback from her colleague, Dr. Paderas realized that both she and her students were contributing to time management problems. She noticed that she often arrived late to the evening class because of faculty meetings. She recognized that she needed to deal more effectively with disruptions before her lecture, when students asked about grades, and during the lecture, when students who arrived late or had been absent from previous classes asked her to repeat information. Based on these findings, she announced that she would be starting lectures on time, requested that students make an effort to be prompt and enter quietly when late, and arranged to leave a few minutes early from faculty meetings. Observing a class her colleague conducted, Dr. Paderas noticed effective ways her colleague handled disruptions and decided to use the same strategies in her class. Observing Dr. Paderas after she made changes, her colleague noted fewer disruptions, greater student and instructor promptness, and improved handling of off-topic questions and comments.

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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