Summative evaluations are administered at the end of a course. A well-designed evaluation can helpfully clarify how and what students learned and suggest reasons for their success or failure in meeting learning objectives. If standardized, summative evaluations also allow the comparison of TAs and sections with one another or with an objective benchmark. For this reason, they typically incorporate quantitative instruments such as Likert-type scales and result in numerical ratings. End-course student evaluations represent a primary means by which the teaching effectiveness of TAs is measured.
End-course evaluations are most often administered in the last week of classes, before final grades are assigned. You should allow sufficient time for students to complete the evaluation and, to ensure anonymity of responses, it is best that you not be present. A student volunteer should collect and return the responses.
Your department or supervising professor may provide you with, or directly administer, an end-course student evaluation. If no such evaluation is mandated, the Graduate School strongly recommends that TAs administer their own summative evaluation. This is both sound educational practice and a highly relevant source of information about your skills.
Assessment measures if and how students learn as well as whether the teaching methods effectively convey the intended messages. For summative purposes, instructors are interested in which and how well course objectives have been met and whether their teaching styles/methods/strategies/tools were successful. In addition, the information gleaned from various assessment tools can help guide the instructor in how these may be changed, altered or “tweaked” to improve future classes. Not only is it important to evaluate the instructor, grader, discussion-recitation leader, laboratory and/or studio facilitator; the course, discussion-recitation session, laboratory or studio session should be assessed as well. The following are self-administered summative assessment tools:
- End-Course Feedback Survey– Instructor and Course
- End-Course Feedback Form – Course & Instructor
- End-Course Questionnaire Template
In addition to the downloadable self-administered evaluations above, the Graduate School offers a standardized student evaluation service for TAs. You may request pre-printed feedback forms (bubble sheets) tailored to classroom, studio, lab, discussion/recitation or grader assignments, and for use as either mid-course or end-course assessments.
These forms will be analyzed in two different ways:
- If anaylyzed by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) on behalf of the Graduate School, the result is a summary report comparing your ratings with those of other TAs teaching the same course in your department.
Advantages of standardized evaluation: Summary report provides concise and legible documentation of your teaching ability (good for teaching portfolios); comparative data indicates performance relative to peers.
Disadvantages: Limited opportunity for customization; must wait for results (a drawback especially for mid-course evaluations).
- If you choose to have these forms analyzed by the Graduate School, results will be more readily available, but without comparative data to your peers. However, we do offer a summary comparison by each section of the same class you teach.
To request standardized evaluations, please contact Peg De Furia in the Graduate School (firstname.lastname@example.org or 315.443.4646).