Evidence of Effective Teaching

Most institutions will request some "evidence of effective teaching" as part of the application package. Although there are numerous ways you can document effective teaching, end-of-semester student evaluations are the most common source.

When selecting, organizing, and presenting your student evaluations, synthesize the numeric (quantitative). Again, the goal is to connect the "evidence" to the claims you've made about your teaching. A matrix format is an efficient way to represent your student evaluations for one course over several semesters (in most cases, there's no need to go beyond 5 years). Describe the scale (i.e. if the scale is 1-5, state whether 5 is "excellent" or "poor"), provide mean ratings, include the course name(s) and the number of students in the class as well as the number of students responding to the survey. Representing the data using a matrix format helps the reader chart improvement and provides a quick overview of your teaching strengths.

If the student evaluation form allows students to write additional comments, include selected comments to support the numeric data. You can summarize student comments by category or you may choose to select 4-6 items from the evaluation form that can be linked to your goals for student learning (as described in your teaching statement) and include representative student comments that support these items. Stay away from "personality" indicators (she's cool, he's nice). Instead, choose items that relate directly to your goals for teaching and student learning (i.e., grades hard, is fair, uses lots of explanations to help us understand, is accessible, organized, etc.)

It's important to let your reader know that these are "representative" comments; as a caveat you might note that all evaluations are available "upon request." Keep copies of your teaching evaluations. Once student evaluations are available to you, make a copy of the raw data and the summary sheets and file them away by semester.

If your student evaluations are not available to you at the end of the semester, make sure you ask your department secretary for a copy.

Other evidence of effective teaching might include:

  • Mid-term feedback (for example, TABS)
  • Sample course syllabi, homework assignments, and/or exams
  • Samples of completed student work (with their permission)
  • Methods used to evaluate/improve teaching