Centre for Teaching and Learning

Centre for Teaching and Learning
Centre for Teaching and Learning

TA Evaluations

Why are TA Evaluations important?

Soliciting feedback from students on your performance as a TA is important for a variety of reasons. Many job postings in higher education require evidence of teaching effectiveness. Positive evaluations from past students demonstrate a history of teaching effectiveness. Teaching evaluations can also be used to apply for future teaching awards. Finally, teaching evaluations are a simple mechanism for professional growth and improving your teaching and learning skills.

Administering TA Evaluations

While the Registrar’s Office administers the University Survey of Student Assessment of Teaching (USAT) for faculty, there is not a parallel program organized for TAs. As such, TAs are largely responsible for administering their own assessments. The following steps will help guide you through the process of administering your own TA Evaluation:

STEP 1: Discuss your plans to seek student feedback with the course instructor. They may be able to include TA specific questions on the USAT Evaluations or grant you time in lecture to administer your own survey.

STEP 2: Draft a survey. Take a look at sample surveys such as this one (Word, 59 kb) or this one (Word, 105 kb). You might also consider creating an online form through platforms such as Google Forms or Survey Monkey in order to administer your survey electronically through email or OnQ. Whatever you decide take care that you will want to administer the same survey for multiple courses in order to effectively communicate your results.

STEP 3: Deliver your survey. Sometime towards the end of the course, dedicate at least 15 minutes of course time – ether during lecture or tutorial – for students to fill out your survey. Alternatively, you might consider delivering the survey electronically. Make sure to remind students that this evaluation is separate from the USATs, their responses will remain anonymous and only seen by you, and the evaluations will have no impact on their final grade.

STEP 4: Document the results. Compile the results of your survey into a concise report that you can include in a Teaching Dossier. At the very least you should document the average rating for each question and pull out some key responses from student’s written comments.

Drawing Connections

While demonstrating evidence of teaching effectiveness is useful in and of itself, the most successful uses of teaching evaluations connect the feedback to their overall teaching philosophy. If you have not already, consider drafting a teaching philosophy by consulting the resources available at the CTL. The feedback you receive from your TA evaluations should inform – and be informed by – the tenets of your overall teaching philosophy.