The Teaching Assessment and Evaluation Guide provides instructors with starting-points for reflecting on their teaching, and with advice on how to gather feedback on their teaching practices and effectiveness as part of a systematic program of teaching development. As well, the Guide provides guidance on how teaching might be fairly and effectively evaluated, which characteristics of teaching might be considered, and which evaluation techniques are best suited for different purposes. The Teaching Assessment and Evaluation Guide is a companion to the Teaching Documentation Guide (1993), also prepared by the Senate Committee on Teaching and Learning (SCOTL). The Documentation Guide (available at the Centre for the Support of Teaching and on the SCOTL website) aims to provide instructors with advice and concrete suggestions on how to document the variety and complexity of their teaching contributions.
Teaching is a complex and personal activity that is best assessed and evaluated using multiple techniques and broadly-based criteria. Assessment for formative purposes is designed to stimulate growth, change and improvement in teaching through reflective practice. Evaluation, in contrast, is used for summative purposes to give an overview of a particular instructor’s teaching in a particular course and setting. Informed judgements on teaching effectiveness can best be made when both assessment and evaluation are conducted, using several techniques to elicit information from various perspectives on different characteristics of teaching. There is no one complete source for information on one’s teaching, and no single technique for gathering it. Moreover, the techniques need to be sensitive to the particular teaching assignment of the instructor being assessed or evaluated, as well as the context in which the teaching takes place. If multiple perspectives are represented and different techniques used, the process will be more valued, the conclusions reached will be more credible, and consequently more valuable to the individual being assessed or evaluated.
Assessment makes teaching into teaching. Mere presentation—without assessment of what the learners have made of what you have offered them—is not teaching. So assessment is not a discrete process, but integral to every stage of teaching, from minute to minute as much as module to module.
And informal assessment (or evaluation) is going on all the time. Every time a student answers a question, or asks one, or starts looking out of the window, or cracks a joke, he is providing you with feedback about whether learning is taking place. It's more an evaluation of the teaching session than about his learning, but the two are inextricable.
Assessment “reaches back” into the rest of teaching: in particular, poorly designed formal assessment regimes can severely hinder student learning and distort the process and subject matter.