REG 05.20.10 - Evaluation of Teaching

Authority: Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor

History: First Issued: May 11, 1994. Last Revised: July 13, 2010.

Related Policies:
UNC Policy Manual Chapter 400.3.1.1[G] (previously Board of Governors' Memorandum 338)

Additional References: 
NC State Guide on Peer Review of Teaching 
RPT Process Description  
Faculty Senate “Guidelines/Principles for the Use of Student Teaching Evaluations”
University Planning and Analysis, ClassEval: NC State’s Online Class Evaluation System

Contact Info: Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs (919-513-7741)


1. INTRODUCTION

UNC Policy Manual Chapter 400.3.1.1[G] requires each institution in the UNC System to develop teaching evaluation policies for all teaching faculty members that include student and peer evaluations of teaching performance on a regular and ongoing basis. This regulation describes NC State University's philosophy and procedures for the evaluation of teaching. This regulation establishes procedures that must be followed for the summative evaluation of faculty teaching effectiveness. This regulation does not establish procedures for formative evaluation of teaching effectiveness that occurs at the faculty member's discretion. 

2. DEFINITIONS

2.1 Formative Evaluation

Evaluation that is used for the purpose of self-improvement is defined as “formative evaluation”. The instructor collects student and peer perceptions of teaching effectiveness solely for the purposes of modifying and enhancing teaching strategies.

2.2 Summative Evaluation

Evaluation for the purpose of making personnel decisions and for enhancing teaching effectiveness is defined as “summative evaluation”. Administrators and departmental voting faculty evaluate data from students, peers, and the instructor in order to make informed decisions regarding reappointment, promotion and tenure, for post tenure review of faculty, teaching awards or for consideration of merit pay increases.

2.3 Peer Evaluator

For reviews of teaching, the peer reviewers may be colleagues of any rank mutually agreed upon by the faculty member and the department head or academic administrator, pending resolution by the Dean if there is disagreement. The peer reviewers may be selected from inside or outside the department. In small departments or in highly specialized disciplines, it may be difficult to find colleagues who can provide the required insights within the same department.

3. SCOPE

3.1 All courses delivered by faculty of NC State University must be evaluated by students each time each course is taught except as indicated in 3.5 below.

3.2 Faculty or a departmental designate must explain to students how evaluations will be administered for their class.

3.3 Peer review is to be conducted for all faculty with teaching assignments.

3.3.1 Peer review of professors must be completed every five years.

3.3.2 Peer review of associate professors must be completed every three years.

3.3.3 Peer review of assistant professors must be completed annually.

3.3.4 Peer review of non-tenure track faculty with 0.75 FTE or greater must be completed annually for the first three years and then every three years.

3.4 In addition to student evaluations and peer review, faculty evaluations may include other measures of teaching effectiveness such as teaching portfolios, exit interviews, and alumni surveys. For additional resources related to the peer review of teaching see departmental guidelines and the NC State Guide on Peer Review of Teaching.

3.5 Courses that have enrollments too low to insure anonymity of student evaluations (n ≤ 4) or that do not present course material (e.g., undergraduate and graduate research, internships, independent study, supervised teaching) will not be evaluated using the university evaluation instrument. Other exemptions must be approved by the Provost.

4. INSTRUMENTS FOR EVALUATION

4.1 Student Evaluation Instruments

The university instrument for evaluation of instruction (ClassEval) consists of a set of core closed-ended and open-ended questions, and a section(s) for optional approved questions that may be added by the teacher, department or college.

4.1.1 ClassEval Core questions 

4.1.1.1 All departments must use the university core questions, unless exempted as set forth in section 3.5 above.

4.1.1.2 The Evaluation of Teaching Committee will review core questions every three years.

4.1.1.3 Core questions may be revised following recommendations made by the Evaluation of Teaching Committee and approval of the provost.

4.1.2 ClassEval Core specific questions

4.1.2.1 All lab courses must use the set of questions related to lab courses.

4.1.2.2 All distance education classes must use the set of questions related to distance education.

4.1.2.3 The Evaluation of Teaching Committee will review core-specific questions every three years.

4.1.2.4 Core-specific questions may be revised following recommendations made by the Evaluation of Teaching Committee and approval of the provost.

4.1.3 ClassEval Optional questions

4.1.3.1 The instructor, department, and college may add optional questions to ClassEval.

4.1.3.2 Optional questions must be approved by University Planning and Analysis for methodological soundness prior to being added to the approved question bank used to produce ClassEval.

4.2 Peer Evaluation Instrument

The development of an instrument(s) for documenting peer evaluations of teaching effectiveness is a departmental responsibility. However, the instrument used in the evaluation must contain the general requirements specified below.

4.2.1 The instrument must address the wide range of strategies, media and materials used in achieving learning objectives.

4.2.2 The instrument must include categories such as instructor organization, instructional strategies, choice of content, mastery of content, presentation skills, instructional materials and/or media, interaction with students and additional items appropriate for laboratory, clinic, studio or field settings.

4.2.3 The instrument must include a section for comments and other observations relevant to the discipline or type of class. Examples of peer evaluation instruments, including some for distance education courses, may be found in references listed in related information above.

5. PROCEDURES FOR STUDENT EVALUATIONS

Anonymity and confidentiality are the basic principles that govern distributing, collecting and handling student evaluations. Strict adherence to procedures that insure anonymity and confidentiality is imperative so that students feel free to provide honest and candid perceptions of teaching effectiveness.

A student may choose not to submit an evaluation if, for example, he or she feels the instructor may recognize a particular student as the source of a particular evaluation (e.g., if the class is very small, optional written comments would suggest who the student is, or some other factor pertains). There is no penalty to students who decline to submit evaluations. 

5.1 Student evaluations of teaching must be conducted every time a course is taught except as noted in Section 3.5. The electronic evaluation instrument for a class will be made available to each student via a unique URL during the last two weeks of a regular term or during a proportionately similar period during summer terms, closing prior to final exam week.

5.2 No form of incentive should be provided to increase response rate.

5.3 All faculty who teach courses as part of their regular assignment and all teaching assistants for a class will be evaluated.

5.4 Faculty and administrators must not have access to evaluation data until after final grades for the course have been submitted.

5.5 The Provost will designate the administrative unit that will carry out data analysis in a timely manner so that data will be available for personnel decisions and for enhancing teaching effectiveness.

5.6 Data and student responses to open-ended questions will be compiled and returned to the faculty member and department head for review with faculty. 

5.7 Distance education and other classes offered outside the classroom will be evaluated using ClassEval. Guidelines for completion of ClassEval must be presented to students prior to the last ten percent (10%) of the course. 

6. PROCEDURES FOR PEER EVALUATION

Peer evaluation of teaching requires observation of instruction methodologies, review of course materials, and a written assessment of these observations. Each department must develop an evaluation instrument (see Section 4.2). Multiple reviewers should be assigned to each course.

6.1 Observation Procedures

6.1.1 The evaluator(s) communicates and meets with the teacher prior to making observations in order to learn the course objectives and become aware of the range of methods/materials/media utilized to achieve these objectives.

6.1.2 Observation must include visits to the classroom or course Web site for online courses, review of the key media and other materials used in instruction, and review of electronic interactions between students and teacher as applicable.

6.1.3 The evaluator must complete a section of the peer evaluation instrument during the class observation period.

6.2 Review of Learning Materials

6.2.1 Learning materials may include the syllabus, examinations, handouts, electronic materials and examples of students work.

6.2.2 Peer evaluation of materials should include accuracy and currency of content, assessment strategies, and difficulty level.

6.2.3 The evaluator must complete the written assessment of learning materials by the end of the semester or at the discretion of the department head.

6.3 Assessment

The written assessment of class observations and learning materials is discussed with the instructor by the evaluator. The written assessment is signed by the evaluator and instructor and submitted to the department head with a copy to the instructor.

7. MAINTAINING STUDENT AND PEER EVALUATION DATA

Completed student and peer evaluation instruments and resulting summary data are confidential. 

7.1 Student and peer evaluations become part of the faculty member's personnel file.

7.2 Faculty members must be provided access to completed evaluations and any summary data resulting from those evaluations.

7.3 Original or summary data from student evaluations, including student responses to open-ended questions, and from peer evaluations must be retained for at least six years.

7.4 Data collected via electronic student evaluations (ClassEval) will be securely stored by the university.

8. EVALUATION OF TEACHING EFFECTIVENESS

Because the results of student and peer evaluations of teaching are used in personnel decisions, interpreting evaluation results must be done with caution.

8.1 Evaluation of teaching effectiveness must not be based on any single source of data. It may include peer review, faculty evaluations, teaching portfolios, exit interviews, and alumni surveys.

8.2 Departmental Voting Faculty will establish guidelines for interpretation of ClassEval data that will be employed in departmental decisions affecting employment status or compensation of faculty. Personnel decisions shall be based on the guidelines established a minimum of one year prior to the decision under consideration.

9. CONFIDENTIALITY OF CLASSEVAL DATA

9.1 Individual evaluation data may be shared only with department voting faculty, administrators, and other faculty (e.g. college RPT committees) involved in personnel decisions.

9.2 Faculty may share their individual evaluation data, but not the evaluation data of TAs or other instructors involved in the class without written permission.

9.3 Aggregate evaluation data may not be presented in a way that would allow identification of an individual faculty member.