How do we know whether we are helping our students learn?
Many tools are available to help assess student learning and teacher effectiveness, of which the end-of-term course evaluation is only one. Student evaluation of teaching (SET) can also be a measure of an instructor's achievements in teaching, but it is effective as one form of measurement among many.
Just as students should be assessed often and in more than one way over the course of a semester or a program of study, so teachers should be assessed in a variety of ways, including peer evaluation and faculty portfolios as well as student feedback. In addition, student feedback should be both formative and summative – that is, offered during the semester as a way of helping instructors gauge how a class is going, and at the end of term.
A large body of research on SET supports the value and reliability of well-designed student evaluations. It has also helped document effective practices for carrying out this kind of evaluation. CELT staff and CELT Board members have collected the materials you see here as a means of fostering consistent and effective SET at Iowa State University. Dedicated to supporting and enhancing teaching effectiveness and student learning, CELT offers these resources as a starting point for ISU colleges and departments. While some measures, such as the numeric scale and the timing of evaluation, are highly recommended for all colleges, departments, and programs, faculty in these units need to select and adapt materials as best suits their students' needs.
The pages here offer both recommended practices that are grounded in research and a set of sample questions. The links above include materials on SET at Iowa State and other institutions, further research on SET, and a glossary of terms commonly found in this field.
NEW: Class Climate ? ISU Online Course Evaluation System
The Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and Information Technology Services (ITS) offers online course evaluation support for University departments through the web-based software Class Climate.