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As a service to academic departments and teaching assistants across campus, the TA Program provides a number of assessment templates and tools to help TAs gather information about their instructional effectiveness and students’ perceptions of the course, recitation/discussion, laboratory, or studio section(s) to which they have been assigned.

  • Formative (mid-course) evaluations are administered while the course or section is still in progress. The purpose is to identify possible improvements in the course or section so that desired learning outcomes are achieved.
  • Classroom assessment techniques (CAT) are formative evaluations that are generally intended to provide feedback on a specific aspect of the course or student learning, rather than the course as a whole. They take many forms and can be administered at multiple points in the course.
  • Summative (end-course) evaluations are cumulative in nature and are useful in determining how well course design and instructional methods align with course goals and expected learning outcomes. They also provide formal documentation of the instructor’s teaching effectiveness.

While most departments expect that supervising professors will solicit student evaluations for the course as a whole, the Graduate School encourages TAs to administer independent evaluations pertaining to their individual section(s) and instructional performance. This information will help TAs reflect on and consider refinements in their teaching. TAs may wish to discuss the results of these assessments with faculty mentors or course supervisors, experienced peers, and/or TA Program staff and teaching mentors. Mid- and end-course evaluations are also essential components of a teaching portfolio.