Formative Evaluation of Teaching (FET)

Why FET?

The primary purpose of doing formative evaluation of teaching (FET) is to improve teaching, and hence student learning. It is not designed to provide evidence for the formation of a judgment about an instructor's teaching performance. Hence, issues such as comparability of evaluation results among peers, fairness, reliability and validity, etc are less of a concern to the instructors planning their own FET.

Who should do it?

Like all professional practices, teaching is a complex activity. The fact that each class is unique and is subject to multiple factors which affect student' learning makes teaching a very challenging professional activity. Even for experienced instructors, it is always a worthwhile exercise to gather information about their own teaching and there is always room for improvement. This is particularly the case when the instructor teaches a new course or tries a new method of teaching.

Does FET require a lot of time and effort?

How much time and effort you put in FET depends a lot on what your aim is. As some of simple methods discussed below, you can benefit from FET even if you only spend as little as a few minutes of your classroom time with minimal preparation. However, if you want to conduct a thorough analysis of your teaching, significantly more effort would be needed. On the other hand, this time will be well spent if it helps the teacher avoid problems that might be very time-consuming in the long run.

How to do it?

FET is usually carried out by the instructors themselves, without the involvement of the university management. Instructors are therefore free to use whatever methods they find appropriate. As explained above, in FET you can decide how many resources you want to put in. You can do it quick and simple, or you can adopt a more thorough and systematic approach.