Skip to content Skip to navigation

Principles of Evaluation

The evaluation of teaching and learning reaches far beyond gathering end-term course feedback, and includes mid-term feedback and other methods to assess the quality of an instructor’s teaching, including peer review and the instructor’s own reflections.

Stanford introduced a new system for online end-term course feedback in Autumn 2015-2016 to provide better information to faculty, encourage students to reflect more thoughtfully about their educational experiences, and enhance the learning partnership.

Key principles and practices

  • No one method offers a complete view of the quality of an instructor’s teaching. Each source of data provides a partial perspective and has certain limitations.
  • The validity of any measure of teaching effectiveness depends on how well it correlates with intended student outcomes.
  • The standards to which faculty are held are most fair when transparent.
  • Fairness also depends on measurements being applied under equivalent circumstances across courses. Measured values should take into consideration factors over which faculty have little or no control, such as class size; student preparedness; quarter in which a course is offered; and the demographics of the class, including race, gender, sexual orientation, intersectionality, and other dimensions of diversity.
  • Faculty can be productively included in developing the criteria and methods for evaluating teaching effectiveness.
  • Evaluation can extend beyond classroom performance. Teaching, the development of new curricula or courses, and supervision and mentoring of students can all be taken into account. Participation in teaching development institutes, workshops, and consultations might also be considered.
  • Practicality requires that evaluations fit the capacity of the department to actually undertake the process.
  • Decisions about appointments and promotions should account for the individual characteristics of an instructor’s career, even though comparative rankings hold great sway in some current evaluation systems.

Key Dates

Key dates for end-term feedback.
Check the dates for end-term feedback for the academic year.


Frequently asked questions.
Answers to common questions.

Principles of Evaluation

Key principles of evaluation.
Key ideas guiding evaluations and student feedback at Stanford.