This section of the teaching portfolio includes feedback from others that provides evidence of your effectiveness as an instructor. Depending on your teaching experience, this might include mid-semester or end of semester feedback from students, letters from current or former students, letters from faculty commenting on a guest lecture you gave, and more. When possible, this section of the teaching portfolio should include a combination of quantitative and qualitative data.
As with the other sections of the teaching portfolio, check the alignment between the feedback you include here and the portfolio as a whole. For example, if the letter from the faculty member highlights your effective use of technology or your use of group work, consider including examples of this in your teaching philosophy statement and sample materials.
Presenting Course Evaluation Data
For the ACT Program, we ask that you provide a summary of course evaluation data when possible. Here is some additional information and advice for presenting this data.
Provide enough context
Give your reader enough information to better understand the data, particularly numerical data. For example, include the student response rate and the point scale used. You may also want to include departmental and/or institutional averages.
Provide a numerical summary of your evaluations
This will make it easy for a reader to get a sense of some key aspects of your teaching. Consider how to represent the data visually. This is most commonly done in a table, but you may want to experiment with other options.
Provide a selection of student comments
Qualitative data is also useful to include, especially when it aligns with other components of your teaching portfolio.
Prioritize courses in which you were a TF/Instructor of Record
When you are a TF/Instructor of Record, you presumably have more control over all aspects of the course. Thus, any feedback on these courses will be weighed more heavily by search committees than student feedback on guest lectures, TA positions, etc. However, particularly if you haven’t had the opportunity to be an Instructor of Record, you can certainly include student feedback on other teaching you have done. And, at Boston College you can ask the professor of a course you TA for to add some specific questions about your teaching to course evaluations.
Reflecting On Your Course Evaluation Data
Spending some time looking at student feedback on courses you have taught can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses as an instructor and, therefore, what to focus on in your teaching portfolio as a whole. You may want to follow this process of reflecting on the data:
- Take a look at the quantitative data and find your areas of strength. If you have data from multiple courses, look for common strengths across all of your courses.
- Look at the student comments and mark the ones that are particularly insightful, or mention an area of your teaching that you highlight in other parts of your teaching portfolio. (For example, if you mention group work in your teaching philosophy statement it would be helpful to include a comment from a student on a group project you assigned.)
- Look for other areas of potential alignment between the evaluations and other components of your teaching portfolio.
As you look at these examples, consider how the instructors orient the reader to the data and how that data is organized.
- ACT Program graduate Carolyn Twomey includes a summary of quantitative data and a selection of student comments on her website.
- Another ACT Program graduate, John Lindner, provides a summary of qualitative data on his website.
- Karen Kelsky of “The Professor Is In” provides two examples at the bottom of her post “What is Evidence of Teaching Excellence?”