INTERPRETING TEACHING EVALUATIONS

All faculty at Knox administer and receive results from standardized teaching evaluations of their classes. Untenured faculty are evaluated for each class, tenured faculty are evaluated for two out of three terms a year, but can request evaluation for all of their classes.

It is important to keep these evaluations in perspective. Most of us cannot help sorting through our results looking for the problems (e.g., higher than average scores in the Disagree or Strongly Disagree categories). We need to remember to look at these data in a broader perspective, examining patterns that occur over a number of classes, over a number of years, keeping in mind that to be at the faculty average at Knox is to be a good teacher. It can be tremendously helpful to compare your evaluations with a colleague or number of colleagues.  Good choices for comparison would be a person with whom you have team taught a course, someone who teaches the same or a similar course, or anyone that is willing. However, you should not feel obligated to share your evaluations if someone asks to see yours.  You can also initiate a conversation with your department chair, who receives a copy of your evaluations each term.

Keep in mind that these teaching evaluations are not and need not be the sole index of your teaching ability. You may want to administer your own evaluations, which may include mid-term as well as end-of-the-course evaluations and/or simply keep notes on your impression of your performance in a class. (See Appendix C for supplementary evaluation questions.)