Importance of evidence

The importance of tangible evidence of teaching excellence is fundamental.  Teachers need to be aware as to what comprises reliable and valid evidence. The overall process must be clear and transparent with explicit and understandable criteria.  In the development of an awards framework, a real challenge is to ensure that teachers understand the importance of trustworthy evidence, of the value of ‘weight of evidence’, of the value of ‘the student voice’, and of the importance of triangulation and verification of the evidence.  It is also critically important for them to collect and use evidence of the development of their teaching practice on an ongoing basis, not simply gather material for use in an application in a ‘just in time’ approach.  Being able to show growth and development over time – i.e. of being reflective and scholarly practitioners and learning from their own and their student’s experiences is critically important.

An essential step is the development of a portfolio which brings the evidence together.  This needs to be the foundation of an ongoing and critically reflective approach to developing teaching skills and expertise.  But this is a major undertaking, so the staircased pathway through to the development of a full portfolio is offered to support and promote interest and involvement in applying for awards.

Sources of evidence

There are a number of tools and data sets that can provide useful sources of evidence. Staff in the Centres for Teaching and Learning and other support services are available to work with teachers to use these tools to gather and interpret evidence.  Evidence may include:

  • MyPortfolio, (the ePortfolio platform)
  • The Peer Review of Course Development Framework
  • MOST
  • Peer observation
  • Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID)
  • Focus group sessions involving teaching and learning consultants
  • Fast feedback processes
  • Evidence of good practice (e.g. assessment, curriculum design and resource development).
  • Production of scholarly work related to teaching and learning
  • Teaching approaches informed by data and analytical techniques
  • Recognising the value of unsolicited feedback
  • Service contributions

See the booklet Getting the Best our of Teaching Evaluations: A guide to gathering information about your teaching practice for more guidance on making use of these sources of evidence.