Evidence of Teaching Effectiveness
An essential element of your dossier is the compilation and presentation of evidence that demonstrates that your approaches to teaching contribute to student learning or that students are meeting the goals that you set for their learning and the expectations for teaching set by your department, faculty, or discipline. This evidence can come from colleagues or from students, and can be in the form of references and testimonials, or examples of students’ work and success. The following list provides examples of items you might include:
COURSE EVALUATION SUMMARIES AND CONTEXTUALIZING NARRATIVES
Student course evaluations can be a valuable source of information about your teaching, but are best put to use when they are not left to speak for themselves. Instead, you can use summaries of your student evaluation data, alongside a contextualizing narrative introduction, to highlight those elements of your course evaluations that provide evidence of your teaching effectiveness, demonstrate your commitment to teaching development and improvement, or connect new teaching strategies to improved student learning.
- A summary chart of your course evaluation quantitative data. You might also include summary sheets of your raw evaluation data from individual courses in an appendix.
- An accompanying narrative contextualization. This narrative statement discusses your evaluation scores in the context of your teaching (e.g. new courses, different groups of students, changes in teaching strategies or approaches) as well as in the context of your own approach to teaching, providing evidence of your teaching strengths or your efforts at teaching improvement.
You can use this statement to address any inconsistencies or concerns that you feel might emerge from your evaluations (for example, you might note that your lowest score was for a course where you had experimented for the first time with a new type of assignment, and after modifications based on student feedback, scores improved the second year). You can also use this statement to highlight:
- Responses to questions that demonstrate that you score well on teaching approaches or strategies that you have highlighted as important to you in your teaching philosophy or teaching experience sections.
- Evidence that your evaluation scores have improved over time, linked to changes in the course or in your approach to teaching.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO INCLUDE:
- Qualitative evaluation data. These comments might be discussed in your narrative statement or be given a narrative section of their own.
If you include student comments, it is normally best to include and note that you have included – all comments from a particular year, course, or set of evaluations, rather than selected comments. You should also note explicitly if you have edited any comments for length or clarity.
Some instructors find it useful to group comments by theme, which can also facilitate the interpretation of the comments. These themes might parallel the strengths or gaps in your teaching that you have identified elsewhere in your dossier.
WHEN APPLICABLE, YOU MIGHT INCLUDE:
Peer assessments, conducted by a colleague or by a teaching support office. This is normally in the form of a written letter produced after one or more visits to your classroom and pre- and post-visit discussions between you and the observer about your teaching.
Student outcomes. This might include, for example, information about students who have been accepted into graduate programs or are pursuing other competitive post-graduate activities; examples of student success in courses that follow yours; evidence of students who have pursued a program of study because of your teaching.
Examples of student work. You might choose work that provides an example of a student performing the kind of intellectual work you have set as a goal for your course or an assignment, or work that, alongside your feedback, demonstrates a student’s improvement over the length of the course.
See Section 11: Creating Materials For Your Dossier for additional information about including student work, and Appendix C: Frequently Asked Questions about Dossiers for privacy considerations in including student work.
Information about teaching award nominations or successful applications. Include a description of the award and an overview of the nomination and selection process.
Institutional acknowledgement of teaching excellence. This might include, for example, representation on committees related to teaching.
Relevant course materials. Please see the description of “Appendix Materials” (Section 12: What to Include in an Appendix?) in this document for more detail on contextualizing such supporting materials. Relevant course materials might be identified in the narrative section of a dossier in the context of a particular claim about teaching strategies or assessment methods; the documents themselves may be included in an appendix.
Data from mid-course feedback. If you administered a mid-course evaluation to obtain formative feedback from your students on the course and/or your teaching, you might wish to include a summary of the collected data. It is also useful to comment on how you responded to the student feedback to make any modifications to the course at the time or for future iterations. Please consult the CTSI guide Gathering Formative Feedback with Mid-Course Evaluations for suggestions on how to collect and use such data.
N.B. instructors should note that a review committee will solicit letters from a random sample of your students and may not permit the inclusion of solicited letters from students or colleagues in a teaching dossier submitted for the purposes of tenure review, continuing status review, and promotion. In these cases, it is often still possible to include unsolicited letters and emails from students and colleagues about your teaching, but always confirm with your Chair or Dean what is acceptable/allowed according to divisional processes/ guidelines.
See Section 11: Creating Materials for Your Dossier, below, for more information about soliciting student letters about your teaching.