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Resources for Instructional Effectiveness

What is Instructional Effectiveness?

Instructional effectiveness refers to the broad range of knowledge, preparation, skills, and attitudes that result in effective teaching and student learning. Instructional effectiveness is a complex construct and includes numerous dimensions, behaviors, skills, and characteristics. Teaching approaches, course modality, course material, learning activities, and assignments should be aligned with student preparation, course level (introductory, intermediate, advanced, graduate), and skills required for students to demonstrate accomplishment of intended student learning outcomes. There is not one single measure or indicator of instructional effectiveness. Typically, evaluating instructional effectiveness includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Numerous processes or those things that faculty/instructors do to facilitate student learning (e.g., pedagogies, teaching strategies, course learning activities and assessments)
  • Direct instructor classroom/instructional environment behaviors that represent required duties instructors must carry out in order for students to learn
  • Instructor characteristics that influence significantly students’ attitudes and behaviors in the learning environment (e.g., knowledgeable, approachable, interesting, and motivating)
  • Evidence of student learning outcomes from student response to instruction, course assessments, projects, performances, exhibitions, and culminating or signature assignments

Understanding Instructional Effectiveness - Frequently Asked Questions

How is this resource useful to me?

Understanding the Fundamentals of Instructional Effectiveness is intended to assist faculty who are engaged in explaining their own teaching processes, behaviors, and outcomes. The resources provide definitions, terms, and examples of how the fundamentals of instructional effectiveness are understood and assessed, typically. The fundamentals covered in this resources are defined as holistic because they seek to provide an overview of multiple ways of defining instructional effectives and encourage the use of multiple measures and data.

These resources are intended to provide a foundation of basic terms, processes, and practices found, typically, in the presentation and assessment of material submitted to establish instructional effectiveness in higher education. As such, they are not intended as a checklist or criteria, but general resources to support the “typical” or fundamental terms, principles, and practices associated with establishing and assessing instructional effectiveness. The resources are designed as a “starting point” for those who are less familiar or unfamiliar with typical processes and practices related to establishing, monitoring, and reviewing instructional effectiveness.

Additionally, the resources presented serve a wide variety of instructional contexts, including instructional modality, disciplinary practice, course level, and experience of the individual faculty member. Specific criteria related to instructional effectiveness at CSULB is not included in these resources. The resources are NOT intended as an extension or replacement of any campus policy on teaching, learning, or faculty evaluation (e.g., Syllabus policy, RTP policies, Lecturer Evaluation policies, and so on).

How is instructional effectiveness associated with student learning?

The primary desired outcome of instructional effectiveness is demonstrated student affective, cognitive, and (in specific disciplines and courses) psychomotor learning. Many faculty fail to recognize or understand the important of student affect and the role it plays in student cognitive learning. Additionally, many faculty believe that instructional effectiveness is only specific to the cognitive or psychomotor domain. Sound design of instructional materials, teaching strategies, and communication behaviors among faculty and their students plays just as important of a role in teaching and learning as does covering content and providing sound learning activities/assignments. [See: Krathwohl, D.R., Bloom,B.S. and Masia, B. B. (1964).Taxonomy of educational objectives, Book II. Affective domain. New York, NY. David McKay Company, Inc.]

Student affective learning is required as a precursor to cognitive and psychomotor learning. There are five levels of affective learning:

  1. receiving – students’ awareness, willingness to receive, or selected attention;
  2. responding - refers to the learners’ active attention to stimuli and his/her motivation to learn – acquiescence, willing responses, or feelings of satisfaction
  3. valuing - refers to the learner’s beliefs and attitudes of worth – acceptance, preference, or commitment
  4. organizing - refers to the learner’s internalization of values and beliefs involving the conceptualization of values; and the organization of a value system
  5. characterization – the internalization of values. As values or beliefs become internalized, the learner organizes them according to priority

Student cognitive learning is specific to comprehension and acquisition of knowledge and skills. There are six domains of cognitive learning:

  1. Remembering: Recognizing or recalling knowledge from memory. Remembering is when memory is used to produce or retrieve definitions, facts, or lists, or to recite previously learned information
  2. Understanding: Constructing meaning from different types of functions, be they written or graphic messages, or activities like interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, or explaining
  3. Applying: Carrying out or using a procedure through executing, or implementing. Applying relates to or refers to situations where learned material is used through products like models, presentations, interviews or simulations
  4. Analyzing: Breaking materials or concepts into parts, determining how they relate or interrelate, or how part relate to an overall structure or purpose
  5. Evaluating: Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing. Critiques, recommendations, and reports are some of the products that can be created to demonstrate the processes of evaluation. In the newer taxonomy, evaluating comes before creating as it is often a necessary part of the precursory behavior before one creates something
  6. Creating: Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing. Creating requires users to put parts together in a new way, or synthesize parts into something new and different thus, creating a new form or product. This process is the most difficult mental function in the new taxonomy

Psychomotor learning refers to specific, discreet physical functions, reflex actions, and interpretive movements. Traditionally, these types of objectives are concerned with the physical encoding of information, with movement and/or with activities where the gross and fine muscles are used for expressing or interpreting information or concepts (e.g., dance, theatre, music, and a wide variety of sports/activity courses). This area also refers to natural, autonomic responses or reflexes (e.g., as found in courses in anatomy, speech therapy, and physical therapy).

How is instructional effectiveness identified or measured?

There is no single measure or indicator of this complex construct given that it involves an individual’s preparation and knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors. There are numerous things “to be measured.” Ideally, data from five sources are required to evaluate effective teaching:

  • reflective assessment from the faculty being evaluated (e.g., narrative of instruction and instructionally related accomplishments during the period of review)
  • peer review of instructional material and direct observation of classroom/online teaching from faculty peers
  • student work and other student assessments that help link teaching behaviors to student learning
  • perceptions of teaching from the students that faculty member is teaching or has taught
  • assessments of student work such as projects or culminating assignments, final course grades, and course GPAs across course taught during the period of review

Why are multiple forms of data/evidence used to establish/evaluate instructional effectiveness?

Using multiple forms of evidence, indexes, and measures is the preferred method of assessing the complex construct – instructional effectiveness. Multiple methods and measures provides a means to capture all of the complex tasks required to provide sound instruction that leads to student learning. A comprehensive or holistic approach to evaluating instructional effectiveness includes all five sources outlined in this resource. Student response to instruction is only one of several areas of evaluation to be considered when making assessments of instructional effectiveness and should not be used exclusively or carry more weight than the other areas of evaluation. Additionally, all faculty undergoing formative or summative review of instructional effectiveness should be evaluated via a process that is holistic and systematic, and includes well-defined criteria.

What is the difference between formative and summative assessment of instructional effectiveness?

Typically, there are two categories of assessment for instructional effectiveness. Most faculty undergo both categories of assessment during their academic careers. Faculty should seek to identify the category of their review prior to developing material for that specific review.

Formative

  • Formative assessments are routinely used within the context of developing instructional effectiveness.
  • The goal of formative assessment is to monitor progress toward establishing instructional effectiveness and to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by instructors to improve their teaching and student learning. More specifically, formative assessments:
    • help instructors identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work
    • help instructors recognize where students are struggling and address problems in course modality, course design, teaching style, classroom communication behaviors, and any other expectations for future demonstrated instructional effectiveness.

Summative

  • Summative assessment are typically used to determine whether or not an individual faculty member has met established criteria by a program, department, college, or other unit specific to instructional effectiveness.
  • The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate instructional effectiveness by determining if material/evidence presented by the faculty member meets/exceeds some established criteria, standard, or benchmark.

What is assessed, typically, for peer review (formative or summative) of instructional effectiveness?

Typically, peer review of instructional effectiveness has five primary areas appropriate for formative and/or summative evaluation. Peer review may be used to provide instructors with formative feedback or recommendations intended to lead to modifications and improvements. Peer review is also used to provide summative assessment, which is a requirement of the formal, university evaluation process (i.e., reappointment, tenure, & promotion, lecturer evaluations).

The following are categories that are assessed, typically, in peer review processes (this is not intended as an exhaustive list):

  • Category 1: Course content and instructional/pedagogical knowledge and competence.
  • Category 2: Adherence to university/college/department policies, practices, and requirements.
  • Category 3: Development, design, and presentation of instructional material for a course.
  • Category 4: Classroom/Instructional environment behaviors which instructors must carry out in order for students to learn.
  • Category 5: Assessment of student outcomes, including, but not limited to synthesis of student response to instruction, course grade distributions, and course GPAs, exemplary student work.

High Impact Educational Practices

Particular educational activities are unusually effective at deepening college student investment in learning and persistence. These educational activities are commonly referred to as High Impact Practices (in Higher Education), or HIPs.

High Impact Practices

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) lists 10 HIPs that are linked to deep learning, self-reported learning gains, and persistence in school across a range of student groups/demographics. Click on each link below to see a description of each HIP, as provided by the AAC&U:

  1. First-Year Seminars and Experiences
    1. Many schools now build into the curriculum first-year seminars or other programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research.
    2. At CSULB, our First Year Experience (FYE) Program facilitates the successful transition of first-year undergraduate students to the university through a series of programs and services designed to introduce students to critical programs, services and resources as well as connect them to the university and fellow students. Find more information on CSULB's FYE program.
  2. Common Intellectual Experiences
    1. The older idea of a “core” curriculum has evolved into a variety of modern forms, such as a set of required common courses or a vertically organized general education program that includes advanced integrative studies and/or required participation in a learning community. These programs often combine broad themes—e.g., technology and society, global interdependence—with a variety of curricular and co-curricular options for students.
  3. Learning Communities
    1. The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link “liberal arts” and “professional courses”; others feature service learning..
  4. Writing-Intensive Courses
    1. These courses emphasize writing at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum, including final-year projects. Students are encouraged to produce and revise various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines. The effectiveness of this repeated practice “across the curriculum” has led to parallel efforts in such areas as quantitative reasoning, oral communication, information literacy, and, on some campuses, ethical inquiry.
    2. CSULB has been dedicated for the past many years of making Writing Intensive an essential part of every student's curriculum, with a new Writing Intensive General Education requirement to be implemented soon. You can find more about CSULB's efforts to increase the focus on Writing Intensive courses by checking our Writing Across the Curriculum page.
  5. Collaborative Assignments and Projects
    1. Collaborative learning combines two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in the company of others, and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Approaches range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing, to cooperative projects and research.
  6. Undergraduate Research
    1. Many colleges and universities are now providing research experiences for students in all disciplines. Undergraduate research, however, has been most prominently used in science disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.
  7. Diversity/Global Learning
    1. Many colleges and universities now emphasize courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies—which may address U.S. diversity, world cultures, or both—often explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. Frequently, intercultural studies are augmented by experiential learning in the community and/or by study abroad.
  8. Service & Community-Based
    1. In these programs, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and often a required part of the course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.
  9. Internships
    1. Internships are another increasingly common form of experiential learning. The idea is to provide students with direct experience in a work setting—usually related to their career interests—and to give them the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field. If the internship is taken for course credit, students complete a project or paper that is approved by a faculty member.
  10. Capstone Courses & Projects
    1. Whether they’re called “senior capstones” or some other name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit of artwork. Capstones are offered both in departmental programs and, increasingly, in general education as well.

You can also find more resources and information on HIPs in Higher Education from the AAC&U.

Writing to Learn (PDF) is a great resource for assignments that help students improve their writing skills.

More CSULB Resources for High Impact Practices

CSULB also has several units who provide additional support for HIPs. They include:

HIPs in hybrid or online courses

Technology Tools

Academic Technology Services

The Academic Technology Services office provides support for software, BeachBoard, computer labs, instructional technology support, classroom support services and a technology helpdesk.

The instructional design team provides instructional support to enhance teaching and learning at CSULB. 

Tools to Enhance your Classroom Experience

Here are some preferred tools to enhance your classroom experience. Please note that any technology you plan that requires students to purchase or download should be listed in the syllabus.

Respondus

Respondus is a application that lets instructors create and manage exams and surveys that can be printed to paper or published directly to BeachBoard. Instructors create exams and assessments offline using an interface and then publish the exams or surveys directly to a BeachBoard course. In addition, over 2,000 publisher test banks are available to instructors who use Respondus. Note: It is not compatible with Apple operating systems

iClicker

Clickers are wireless handheld devices that allow students to respond to classroom polls, quizzes, and sign-in for attendance, regardless of class size and common student dynamics

iPads & Tablets

The iPad combines robust computational functionality with a screen large enough to serve as a legitimate replacement for printed textbooks and other course materials, with the added benefits of interactivity (Educause, 2011). Here are some additional apps you might want to take advantage of if you are using an iPad or tablet:

Download the apps from the App Store located on your iPad.

Technology Tools around the Web

The CSULB Software Depot has a complete list of available software for faculty along with instruction on downloads and licensing. 

Teaching Jumpstart

CSULB Syllabus Policy

All faculty are required to provide students with a course syllabus. The link above provides the detailed requirements for your syllabus. The ATS Document Accessibility guide will help you ensure that your course documents are compliant with accessibility standards.

Creating an Engaging and Effective Syllabus

A good syllabus should provide required information AND be engaging to students. Below are a few links to help you create an engaging and effective syllabus.

The toolbar to your left will take you to an entire page on assessment.

CSULB Office Hour Policy

All faculty members are required to hold office hours and those hours must be posted on your syllabi. Please review the office hour policy to determine how many hours to include on your syllabi.

Scholarly Teaching

The CSU provides Teaching Commons which houses a wide variety of resources to support your teaching. View resources on scholarly teaching.

Efficient and Effective Teaching

This PowerPoint and accompanying "Tips" link provide information on research-based efficient and effective teaching strategies. Efficient and Effective Teaching (PPT)

Additional CSULB Teaching Policies

CSULB has several teaching and course policies that must be addressed in the syllabus. Below you'll find the policies you'll need to know before you begin teaching your course.

Documenting Instructional Effectiveness

Documenting Instructional Effectiveness is intended to assist faculty engaged in documenting their own teaching processes, practices, and outcomes. Documenting Instructional Effectiveness is intended provide a foundation of what is typical in organizing and documenting effective teaching in higher education contexts. As such, the resources are not intended as a checklist or criteria, but general resources to support faculty who are unfamiliar or less familiar with the process of documenting teaching effectiveness for the purpose of formative or summative peer review. 

All faculty should consult relevant university, college, and department policies and practices for specific expectations, criteria, and requirements. Documenting Instructional Effectiveness is intended to be a general guide and provides information that may not apply in specific circumstances. Likewise, the resources may not contain information specific to some college and/or department requirements. This resource does not substitute or take the place of any university policy. Consult with your department chair about department/program expectations, criteria, and requirements and how to utilize this resource for your own needs.

Links to CSULB Evaluation Documents and Forms

Documenting Instructional Effectiveness provides an overview of typical ways that faculty provide evidence and are evaluated for instructional effectiveness across five broad categories: 

  • Category 1: Course content and instructional/pedagogical knowledge and competence.
  • Category 2: Adherence to university/college/department policies, practices, and requirements.
  • Category 3: Development, design, and presentation of instructional material for a course.
  • Category 4: Classroom/Instructional environment behaviors which instructors must carry out for students to learn.
  • Category 5: Assessment of student outcomes, including, synthesis of student response to instruction, course grade distributions, and course GPAs, exemplary student work.

The information here describes what is typical in the evaluation of each of the five categories listed above and includes sample items that are used to evaluate various components of the category. There are numerous indexes, rubrics, and forms used in the evaluation of instructional effectiveness. Items on the CSULB Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT) form come from the ACE Item Pool linked below. The CSU system developed Quality Online Teaching and Learning (QOLT) to assess instructional effectiveness in partial and fully online modalities. This resource provides example items from ACE and QOLT to demonstrate typical assessments of instructional effectiveness. Below are links to the two nationally recognized, standardized item pools used at CSULB:

1. Establishing course content and instructional/pedagogical knowledge and competence.

Faculty are required, typically, to address training and competence in course content and pedagogical competence. The most common way that faculty address course competence is by listing/explaining advanced education and training specific to the course content. The explanation may include any awards or honors received in the content area of the course. CSULB requires all faculty undergoing reappointment, tenure, and promotion review to provide this information in a standardized format called the Professional Data Sheet

Pedagogical competence is demonstrated by listing/explaining advanced education, training, certificates, etc. specific to teaching, instruction, and/or pedagogy. Faculty are often asked to provide a teaching statement or teaching philosophy. Vanderbilt University's Center for Teaching provides good resources for those writing a Teaching Statement or Philosophy for the first time or revising one written previously. 

2. Adhering to university/college/department policies, practices, and requirements.

Departments are required to have a Standard Course Outline (SCO) for every course in the curriculum. The SCO contains the official course description, intended student learning outcomes, recommended or required course modalities, recommended or required textbooks, and other “non-negotiable” information specific to the course. All faculty teaching the course are expected to follow the SCO. Make sure you inquire about the course SCO prior to developing your syllabus and other course material. 

Faculty assigned to courses in modalities other than face-to-face (e.g., online, hybrid, flipped) should determine if there are additional university policies and practices specific for their course modality. Consult with your department chair about any policies, requirements, or additional training that might be required for a specific instructional modality (laboratories, active learning classrooms, flipped, hybrid, online).

CAUTION: Faculty teaching a course for the first time may be provided with a syllabus and/or course materials from department colleagues. These examples are helpful in understanding the scope and content of the course, appropriate assignments, appropriate assessments, and other elements. However, in some instances, the example syllabus may not have been updated in several years. Do not assume that an example syllabus adheres to all current campus policies – check relevant policies to ensure your syllabus is current and in compliance. CSULB Academic Senate Policy Statements

The evaluative items used in all examples are drawn from two resources: (1) The University of Iowa Assessing the Classroom Environment (ACE) Item Pool; (2) The CSU’s instrument used to assess Quality Online Teaching and Learning (QOLT). Please Note: All items from QOLT are distinguished by an *

Example evaluative items used, typically, to assess adherence to university adherence to university/college/department policies, practices, and requirements.

  • The syllabus adheres to the university syllabus policy.
  • Campus accessible technology policies are followed.
  • The syllabus and other course elements adhere to the Standard Course Outline.
  • The faculty member demonstrates adherence to policies governing the modality of instruction.
  • *Academic integrity or “code of ethics” is defined and related institutional policies are clearly stated or those links is provided
  • *Grading policy is provided in a manner that clearly defines expectations for the course and representative assignments.
  • *Syllabus (or similar) links to the campus accessibility policy.

3. Development, design, and presentation of instructional material for a course.

There are numerous ways to discuss (in your narrative) and provide evidence (in your supplemental file) of how you developed, designed, and presented instructional material for a course. Chronological order is typical (e.g., beginning with your overall approach, background research/investigation of texts, assessments of student prior learning, typically approaches to the course, culturally relevant pedagogies, etc.). Address how you arrived at a design that is aligned with your course modality (face-to-face, flipped, hybrid, online) and intended student learning outcomes. Address how you have incorporated culturally responsive approaches in your design and considered any needs specific to CSULB students. Finally, you should discuss the channels/methods you use to present instructional material in the course. Seek guidance from your department chair about your department and college expectations and practices. 

Example items used, typically, to assess development, design, and presentation of instructional material for a course.

Course Development and Design:

  • This course is well planned and organized.
  • Course objectives are adequately detailed.
  • Intended student learning outcomes are clear.
  • The sequence of course content facilitates learning.
  • Course difficulty is appropriate for students’ background/pre-requisites.
  • A good mix of instructional strategies (e.g., lecture, active learning, and practice) occurs in this course.
  • The pace of the course is appropriate to facilitate student learning/development.
  • *The instructor provides clear information regarding access to the technology and/or related resources required in the course
  • *The instructor provides students with adequate notice and time to acquire course materials.

Presentation of Instructional Material:

  • The textbook/readings/instructional material are aligned with intended learning outcome.
  • Course materials are a helpful guide to content covered in the class.
  • Required course activities are consistent with course objectives/intended learning outcomes.
  • Assigned readings are pertinent to the topics presented in the class.
  • Assignments contribute to student learning.
  • The instructor takes into consideration ethnic and cultural differences when teaching this course.
  • The instructor appears to be fair and unbiased in the treatment of all students in this course.
  • The instructor encourages mutual respect among students of diverse backgrounds.
  • *The instructor provides clear and detailed instructions for students to begin accessing all course components, such as syllabus, course calendar, assignments, and support files.
  • *The instructor articulates the purpose of instructional material and how it is related to the course, activities, learning objectives, and success of the student.
  • *There are a variety of instructional material types and perspectives presented, while not overly relying on one content type such as text.
  • *The technical competencies necessary for course completion are provided and identified.

4. Classroom/Instructional environment behaviors that instructors must carry out in order for students to learn.

Typically, classroom/instructional environment behaviors are observed directly by peers. A peer may visit your classroom as a department requirement or you may invite a peer to visit your classroom/instructional environment (check with your department chair about specific requirements). If you are teaching in an online modality (partial or fully) a peer may engage in a virtual visit or simply review your online/hybrid/flipped course (check with your department chair about specific requirements). Some departments have specific rubrics for peer evaluation of teaching. Most classroom visits are intended to assess two broad categories of teacher/student behaviors: (1) Teacher communication behaviors and classroom management behaviors; (2) Teacher facilitation of student engagement, peer interaction, and teacher/student interaction. 

Importantly, classroom observations allow for opportunities to observe faculty engaging students to promote affective, cognitive and/or psychomotor learning. Teacher communication and facilitation behaviors in the instructional environment provide the most direct evidence of building student affect (i.e., linking the course content, motivation to learn) for the course and engagement with the faculty member and class peers. Teacher communication behaviors also provide direct evidence of how faculty explain content, manage the instructional environment, and facilitate peer-to-peer interaction aimed at increasing student learning. As such, peer observation of faculty in the instructional environment is critical to understanding how faculty are putting their development and design of course material into actions that result in student learning. 

Typical items used to assess teacher communication are as follows:

  • The instructor is effective in presenting materials in lecture/discussion.
  • The instructor presents materials clearly.
  • The instructor seems interested/enthusiastic about teaching this course.
  • The instructor communicates at a level appropriate to students’ level of understanding.
  • The instructor seems concerned with whether or not students learn course content.
  • Important points are clarified with good examples.
  • Practical applications of the course are discussed.

Typical items to assess classroom management are as follows:

  • The instructor helps students understand importance of course topics and related outcomes.
  • The instructor sends communication about important course goals, topics, and assignments as opportunities arise.
  • The instructor actively strives to keep course participants engaged and participating in productive dialogues.
  • The instructor helps focus discussion on relevant issues.
  • The instructor provides feedback in a timely manner.
  • The instructor engages in behaviors that keep students on task (e.g., provides clear due dates/reminders of course readings, homework, assignments, projects and exams).

Typical items used to assess facilitation of student engagement, peer interaction, and teacher/student interaction area as follows:

  • The instructor provides information about how to be a successful learner in this course.
  • Student’s questions are encouraged.
  • Student’s comments are responded to in an appropriate way.
  • The instructor is good at facilitating group discussion.
  • The modes and intended outcomes of student interaction are communicated clearly.
  • The learning activities facilitate active learning that encourages frequent and ongoing peer-to-peer engagement.
  • The instructor explains clearly her/his role regarding participation in the online environment.
  • The instructor encourages students to communicate with the instructor outside of class if they are having difficulty.
  • The instructor communicates concern for student learning.

5. Assessment of student outcomes

Includes, but is not limited to, student response to instruction, course GPA, course grade distributions, and exemplary student work (e.g., culminating assignments or projects, benchmark assignments, other evidence of student learning specific to course learning outcomes, etc.).

The CSU-system requires an end-of-course student response to instruction. CSULB has a policy and instrument to meet this requirement: Student Perceptions of Teaching (SPOT). Please read the policy and instrument. Consult with your department chair about selecting courses to be evaluated via SPOT. Generally, end-of-semester student responses to instruction reflect perceptions of specific, observable teaching behaviors (e.g., the teacher was available during office hours, assignments were returned in a timely fashion). Student perceptions may also serve as indirect indicators of student affective learning, cognitive, and/or psychomotor learning. 

Student perceptions of teaching that fall below department and college norms, consistently, can indicate a problem with instructional effectiveness and a formative review of teaching is recommended. A formative review following SPOT items that fall below department/college norms, consistently, should assist the faculty member in identifying specific areas to be improved. 

Course grades may be reported by the number of A’s, B’s and so on – students earn in a course, course completion rates or the percent of students who earn D’s, F’s, W, or I. Course grades may also be reported by student ethnicity. Student grades by student ethnicity is important because it demonstrates the possibility of “opportunity gaps” in instruction in a course or across multiple sections of a course. The term “opportunity gap” refers to a disproportionate number of student non-completions within or across ethnic groups. 

Exams, signature assignments, final course projects, and other exemplary work by students is typically used as evidence of student learning and instructional effectiveness. Make sure that you connect the student work to specific course learning outcomes and explain how the work demonstrates learning for a particular outcome. Some programs require students to maintain a portfolio of work accomplished in the program of study. Student portfolio submissions from your courses may also serve as evidence of instructional effectiveness. Faculty often work with students on independent study or other types of undergraduate/graduate research projects. Be sure to include any outcomes achieved by students engaged in independent study or research with you (e.g., poster and paper presentations at conferences, publications, etc.). 

Seeking Formative Peer Review

Formative peer review is an excellent way to get feedback on your teaching. Formative assessments should provide the faculty member with recommendations on how to achieve adherence with current policies and practices. Additionally, you can demonstrate improvements in instructional effectiveness by utilizing feedback, making changes, and linking changes in your instruction to student outcomes. The Faculty Center provides formative peer reviews for all CSULB faculty. The Faculty Center provides review of course material and direct observation in the learning environment (classroom and online). The results of your formative review are completely confidential and it is entirely up to the faculty member as to whether or not they choose to share the information pertaining to the formative assessment. Simply make a request for a formative review at fc@csulb.edu. Department peers, including your department chair, may also provide formative reviews. Consult with your chair to determine if there are any department practices for formative peer reviews of teaching and suggestions on how to do so.