Reflective Self-Evaluations

Before successfully conducting a self-evaluation, an instructor should first reflect upon his or her concepts of teaching effectiveness (in both general terms and in relation to the specific courses taught), and implementation/plasticity of teaching strategies. The most effective, reflective practitioners are those who engage in regular self-evaluation following each lesson and each encounter with a student. At minimum, instructors are encouraged to write a brief, personal statement concerning their instruction, student satisfaction, and student performance. Once these reflective thoughts are recorded, instructors may use them as a point of reference for program and instructional improvement. At the conclusion of each course taught, and after Student Feedback Surveys are released, a faculty member should write brief responses to the self-evaluative prompts listed below.  Faculty members who are interested in carrying out this activity for assessing teaching performance can download an electronic copy of the “Reflective Self-Evaluation Questionnaire (docx)” (.docx)* to their computer.  Faculty members are encouraged to include the Self-Evaluation Questionnaire in the annual performance evaluations, six-year reviews or in their promotion materials.

  1. Self-reflection on Student Satisfaction (these responses should incorporate the data and responses in the Student Feedback Surveys):

    1. What positive outcomes has your class made for your students?
    2. How might you adjust your teaching methods based on student feedback?
    3. Is there anything about the classroom environment that you felt influenced the Student Feedback Surveys? How might the classroom environment be improved to better serve you and your students?
  2. Self-reflection on Student Learning: 

     After each semester, write a brief summary reflecting on your students’ learning in each course.  Topics might include the following:
    1. How do grades for the current semester compare to those from previous semesters?
    2. In what ways did the students demonstrate depth of comprehension of class discussions or papers?
    3. What are some teaching strategies that you felt had positive effects on your students’ learning and comprehension?
    4. What aspects of the classroom environment possibly affected your students’ learning and comprehension? Were there any?
  3. Self-reflection on Instructor Performance:

    1. How were teaching methods adapted to the unique classroom environment?
    2. In what ways can your teaching be improved through
      1. Research
      2. Creative Activity
      3. Professional Development?

    Although this is not mandatory, you may include any feedback from classroom visits from a colleague or administrator.

  4. Videos for self-assessment: effective strategy under self-evaluation is the use of video recording instruction and reviewing the recording with a peer. When an instructor is able to view his/her own teaching and share feedback with a peer, it often facilitates reflection and ultimately, instructional improvements.Instructors may schedule a videotaping of a typical class in order to carefully evaluate his or her classroom performance.  The purpose is to be yourself in the classroom to provide an authentic picture of how you really teach.  The final project provides hard evidence of your teaching.  Who should evaluate the video and how should it be used in assessment of teaching performance?
    1. The video may be viewed only by the instructor, privately at home or in the office.
    2. The instructor should fill out the peer observation form while viewing his or her own teaching.
    3. The instructor may ask that a colleague complete a review of the video and provide proper feedback.
    4. Two or three other colleagues, preferably peers, view the video, fill out an evaluation form and provide feedback to the instructor.
    5. If so desired, the instructor should make the video available either online or in DVD format to his or her supervisor as an extra source for evaluating teaching performance.

    The options listed above are listed in order of increasing complexity, intrusiveness and amount of information produced.  All options can provide valuable insights into teaching to guide specific improvement.  Instructors who are interested in videotaping their class are encouraged to contact the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning Excellence.

    How can we use this information? Instructional faculty may integrate their reflections and improvements into their professional narrative (for P&T, when nominated for an award, etc..). What is learned from self-evaluation and reflection is also valuable when mentoring GTAs, adjunct faculty, and new faculty.

    * For access to this document, please contact CRTLE at

Additional Resources for Self-evaluations and Self-assessment of teaching: 

  • Kulkarni, C., Wei, K. P., Le, H., Chia, D., Papadopoulos, K., Cheng, J., … & Klemmer, S. R. (2015). Peer and self-assessment in massive online classes. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction20(6), 131-168.doi:
    • Research showing that students assessed their own grades slightly higher than grades assigned by staff. However, after moderate feedback, students’ self-assessment became more closely aligned with staff assessment.
  • Vonderwell, S. K., & Boboc, M. (2013). Promoting formative assessment in online teaching and learning. TechTrends57(4), 22-27. doi: 10.1007/s11528-013-0673-x
    • Article describes how instructors can use self-assessment tools to help diagnose areas that need to be reviewed.
  • Ćukušić, M., Garača, Ž., & Jadrić, M. (2014). Online self-assessment and students’ success in higher education institutions. Computers & Education72, 100-109. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2013.10.018
    • This article demonstrates the effectiveness of self-assessment by comparing students’ results in classes utilizing self-assessment versus classes not utilizing self-assessment.
  • Fastré, G. M., van der Klink, M. R., Sluijsmans, D., & van Merriënboer, J. J. (2012). Drawing students’ attention to relevant assessment criteria: Effects on self-assessment skills and performance. Journal of Vocational Education & Training64(2), 185-198. doi: 10.1080/13636820.2011.630537
    • This article highlights one way to increase the effectiveness of self-assessment by making students aware of the criteria of assessment.
  • Dochy, F. J. R. C., Segers, M., & Sluijsmans, D. (1999). The use of self-, peer and co-assessment in higher education: A review. Studies in Higher education,24(3), 331-350. doi: 10.1080/03075079912331379935
    • This research looked at 63 studies covering the use and effective of self-assessment in higher education. The researcher found that students perceived self-assessment as being valuable and fair.