April 19, 2021 by Formjelly
Most schools have mandatory teacher evaluation forms, whether they’re a private elementary school or a public university. These forms can provide valuable insight into what a teacher is actually like day-to-day, which can help administrators determine who to promote, if training is needed, and what their staff is doing well.
Just because teacher evaluation forms are often mandatory (or at least strongly recommended), it doesn’t mean that the feedback is always useful.
Sometimes students writing the evaluation would rather rush through the process because it’s just one more thing they don’t want to do. There are also cases where evaluation forms meant for parents to fill out just never make it home.
In order to collect the detailed, accurate feedback that will help your administration, there are 5 tips you can use to get stronger feedback with teacher evaluation forms. Let’s take a look at each.
Teacher evaluation forms have historically been done in the classroom with pen to paper during class sessions.
If you have the option to do so, opting for online forms can offer several benefits when it comes to improved feedback.
College-aged students, for example, are more likely to be thorough in their answers if they’re typing as opposed to physically writing. You can just require that they fill out the forms online for each class they take.
And when it comes to school-aged children, online forms make it easier for kids to be thoughtful at home instead of feeling potentially rushed in a classroom setting. Not to mention that online forms are easier to read than messy handwriting.
If you need parents to weigh in, digital forms are the way to go. Parents can submit them without worrying about forms making it into their homes, into their hands, and back to the school.
Since teacher evaluation data is so important, we strongly recommend opting for a secure, encrypted online form builder. Formjelly guarantees privacy and reliability so you can trust that the only people who will see the feedback are those who are meant to. You can get started with our customizable online teacher evaluation form template.
Anonymity is crucial if you want honest feedback, especially when it comes to the areas where your teachers could potentially use some extra training.
Students typically won’t want to say anything if they felt disrespected by a teacher, or if the teacher played favorites if there’s any chance that it would get back to the educator in question.
Online forms are easier to keep truly anonymous, which will appeal to students who are concerned about leaving honest feedback. There’s no risk of the teacher recognizing a student’s handwriting or discovering the forms laying around.
Since you do want honest feedback— especially when it comes to the negative— this is an important step to take. Make sure that the students know that these forms are anonymous, too.
It’s typically best to hold teacher evaluations at the end of the teaching period, whether that’s a semester or a year.
By holding evaluations at the end of the year, students have had the full experience with their teacher. They understand how the educator instructs them, what the lesson plans and tests are like, and what the teacher was willing to do to help them excel through the year.
Make sure, however, that evaluations are rolled out while the students are still in school and ideally before the final week of exams where they’ve checked out from everything else. It should be a required part of the course and not something to do over the summer or winter break when school is the last thing that your students are thinking about.
Some teacher evaluation forms rely heavily on yes or no answers, like “would you recommend this teacher, yes or no?” This is convenient because they’re easy to assess quickly, but they lack the kind of information that you need.
Asking open-ended questions on teacher evaluation forms is the best way to get strong feedback that will benefit you.
Think about asking questions like the following:
What you ask will vary based on the age of the students and the information you need. Asking college-aged students about whether the homework was productive or busy work can yield an honest answer, for example, while most middle schoolers would deem all homework as busywork.
Think about the knowledge that you want to have about your instructors, and ask pointed questions. That’s a good place to start.
Students (and parents, if they’re participating) will typically provide stronger and more actionable feedback if they feel like the time they spend on the teacher evaluation form matters.
Let all participants know that you greatly value the feedback they’re giving. Assure them that it helps to determine where resources will go, and what training the staff may still need.
You can also think of creative ways to celebrate the feedback, like naming the top five teachers every year who received the highest feedback. Focusing on the positive while making it clear that you’ll privately implement the negative is a good way to go.
The insight shared on teacher evaluation forms can help your school identify top performers as well as understand where more training is needed. To get students the best education possible, this should always be the goal.
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