Self-Evaluation of Teaching

Self-Evaluation of Teaching

Formal evaluation of your own teaching serves at least two purposes

  • Analyzing your own pedagogy can be a productive component of the development of your teaching over time, and
  • Your presentation of your pedagogy can guide others in their evaluation of your teaching. 

Formal self-evaluation can take a number of forms

The most developed form is a full teaching portfolio, which will likely include a teaching philosophy, a description of your teaching methods and learning assessments, evidence of student learning outcomes, and other documentation.  If you would like guidance and feedback as you develop a teaching portfolio, please join our Community of Practice on Teaching Portfolios, a two-week program offered each May.

Perhaps the most basic component is a self-evaluation of a course you have just completed, and you may find evaluating one recent course to be a practical and manageable start for self-evaluation of your teaching.  The resulting self-evaluation might form part of your annual review.  Later, you might combine it with your self-evaluations of subsequent sections of the same course for a more condensed account your pedagogical approach to that course— such a cumulative evaluation might form part of an application for promotion, for a new position, or for a teaching award.

Self-Evaluation of a course you have just completed

A formal self-evaluation of a course you have just completed is likely to be a written document of 1-3 pages. 

Consider beginning with some specifics that will provide helpful context for your audience:

Basic course information:  

  • Course number and title, 
  • Brief course description, 
  • The delivery method, and, if it was in-person, where it was taught,
  • How often the class met and when,
  • The number of students in the class,
  • Whether the course included a separate lab, 
  • Any other relevant specifics.

Information about how the course fits into your own experience: 

  • How many courses you were teaching in this semester,
  • Whether this was a new preparation for you or how many times you've taught it before , 
  • Whether this is a new course or one that is also taught by other faculty, and, if the latter, whether you sought to adhere to the department norm or to make changes to how the course is usually taught,
  • Whether you collaborated with co-instructors or graduate teaching assistants.

After this introductory material, your evaluation of your course design, pedagogical strategies, and/or interaction with students can be organized in any number of ways:

You might divide your self-evaluation into two sections: what went well in the course and what you would like to do differently the next time.  

  • Describing what went well, try to address how you know that component of the course went well and why that component is important.
  • Describing possibilities for improvement, try to focus on specific things that you will be able to change—this will allow you to demonstrate continual improvement and to assess how these changes work over time.

You might consider elements of your course chronologically, addressing

  • your initial course planning and design, including your course objectives
  • practices you used to engage students in the course material
  • activities you designed to communicate the material to the students
  • assignments and exams you designed to assess student learning
  • feedback you provided to help students improve throughout the semester

(This chronological approach can work well for a course in which you gather mid-semester feedback from your students, providing a framework that enables you to document changes you may have made in response to feedback as you moved through the semester.)

You might decide to organize your self-evaluation with reference to the learning objectives of the course.  For each learning objective, you might explain 

  • what pedagogical strategies you used to reach that objective, 
  • which strategies were most successful and how you know, 
  • which strategies could be improved or replaced and how you might do that.

You might decide that the most useful direction for your self-evaluation for a particular course would be a focused response to one element of your teaching that semester.  For example, many self-evaluations of teaching in 2020-21 focused on how the instructor adapted to the pandemic conditions.  This kind of focus can be useful in other situations, as well, in response to a new development in your field, your pedagogy, and/or your own professional trajectory.  You might focus your self-evaluation on how you responded to one of the following:

  • a development in the field of study
  • a particular pedagogical initiative, such as inclusivity and/or accessibility
  • a particular pedagogical innovation you have been working on 
  • an innovation in the course compared to previous incarnations
  • a trend in the student course surveys
  • an observation by a colleague
  • interactions with CTL

Support for your self-evaluation

Evidence supporting the claims your self-evaluation makes about your course design, pedagogical strategies, and/or interactions with students can be supported in a number of ways:  

  • You might refer to your course materials (syllabus, assignments, exams, etc.)
  • You might refer to demonstrated student improvement on course assignments and/or accomplishments connected with the course
  • You might refer to feedback you provided on student work
  • You might refer to interactions you had with students or collaborations among students
  • You might analyze student perceptions of the course based on communications from student and/or trends in the student course surveys  
  • You might refer to comments you received through a peer review of your teaching or a CTL classroom observation