Tips for making the evaluation process
as painless as possible
There are two things certain in the teaching field: that
you will be evaluated as an instructor and hopefully, that you will get into the
position of evaluating others in your field. This Web Page will give you
some sample pre-visit reports that I turned in to a professor who was assigned
to visit my English 306 and English 95 classes.
Having taking each of the classroom visits very
seriously, I planned extensively for the pre-visit, the visitation,
and the post visit parts of the evaluation process. After all, aside
from the SETES (Student Evaluations of Teacher's Effectiveness), this is the
only chance for my superiors to see my teaching effectiveness.
Tip #1: Make sure you understand how you are going to be
evaluated and then prepare, prepare, and prepare.
This is the Classroom Visitation Report that was used to evaluate me.
Luckily, the English Department includes this report form in the handbook for
part time faculty. You can bet that I have read that handbook cover to
cover. And I did that before I was to be evaluated.
CLASSROOM VISITATION REPORT
Course No. and
Title______________ Date of
pre-visit conference ___________
Date of classroom visit_____________ Date
of post-visit conference___________
Scheduled class hours_____________
Duration of visit_____________________
No. of students
enrolled____________ No. of students
1. Using the information obtained at the pre-visit conference, describe and
evaluate the instructors plan for this course. Comment on the syllabus,
handouts, assigned text(s) and readings as well as the instructor's statements
about this course. Describe and evaluate the assessment procedures used by the
instructor for this course. Attach sample examinations or other assessment
procedures from this or similar courses taught by this instructor.
2. Using the information obtained at the pre-visit conference,
describe and evaluate the plan for the class session to be visited including
objectives, content and organization.
3. Describe the activities observed in the class visited and evaluate
instructor's (1) command of the subject matter, (2) methods of communications
used, (3) appropriateness of the level of class content, (4) organization of the
material presented, (5) sequence of the class activities, (6) interactions
between the instructor and the students, (7) evidence of learning taking place,
and (8) innovation in teaching. Address elements one through seven, and eight as
appropriate, in your evaluation, one by one or incorporated in paragraph form.
4. Other comments.
Visitorís signature____________Visitor's Department_________________
I have read this report and know that I may submit a response or rebuttal to
the school office.
Visitee's Signature Date
Tip #2: The pre-visit report should make it very easy for the visitor
to describe and evaluate your plan for teaching the course. Don't be
vague. Show the visitor that you have a clear plan and organization to the
class that you teach.
Here is an actual copy of what I gave to the professor in advance before she
came to visit my English 306 class:
Attached to this memo are the handouts that should assist you in your
classroom observation of my English 306 class.
The emphasis in my class is on learning by doing so the students have some
type of writing assignment every time they come to class. The course is
organized around four out of class essays, four in-class essays, and a response
journal for the assigned readings. The reasons for these assignments are to help
the students learn to
1. analyze the rhetorical situation by making strategic choices as to
content, style, and form depending on the purpose, audience, and the genre in
which they write.
2. use writing as a tool to improve critical thinking skills.
3. use writing to improve creative imagination skills.
4. learn how to gather writing knowledge from a community of writers.
5. understand and practice the writing process (pre-writing, writing, self
editing, peer editing, and revision).
In conjunction to these assignments, the students have assigned readings from
Edward Whiteís book Inquiry. The readings are cross-cultural in nature
and encourage an interpretation and explanation of the heuristics used by the
writer. William Faulkner once said, "Read, read, read. Read
everything-trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a
carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master." I want the
students to see what good writing is and then discuss what makes it good.
Class Outline November 15 9:00-10:30 A.M.
1. Read sample essay from last assignment.
2. Discuss organization of essay.
3. Discuss strengths of the essay.
4. Hand out and discuss peer review checklist for middle draft peer review.
I am hoping that these four parts of the introduction will get students
consciously thinking about assessment. In a sense, I am prepping the
students for the peer review.
5. In-class middle draft peer review
During this exercise, each student brings four copies of the essay for
other students to read. The purpose is for the students to get constructive
comments and advice on how to improve the essay in its rough draft stage.
Each student evaluates a minimum of three essays from other students in the
class. The readers are encouraged to read with a critical eye by being both
positive and skeptical-positive in that they are trying to identify what is
workable and promising in the draft, skeptical in that they question the
writerís assumptions and decisions. The students are encouraged to offer
advice to their peers but admonished not to rewrite the paper. The role is
to read carefully, to point out what is or is not working, to make
suggestions and ask questions. The revising is left to the writer. The
students do not edit the paper for grammatical correctness.
Here is an actual copy of what I gave to the professor in advance before she
came to visit my English 306 class:
The overall plan for English 95:
Writing is at the center of this course. We write every class period, and we
read and analyze what we write. We also read the work of other writersí and
consider the context in which those pieces are situated. My goals include
introducing students to the rhetorical nature of language, teaching them
strategies that will enable them to use language more effectively in their
day-to-day lives, and developing in them critical literacy through thinking,
talking, and writing. I encourage teamwork and collaboration and work to provide
students with different perspectives on the many issues we investigate together.
I also teach them the importance of context to highlight how language changes as
the discourse community changes.
My approach to teaching this class is based on the premise that a great
instructor is an organizer, a facilitator, and a motivator. I structure my
syllabus and my daily lessons plans with very clear objectives that are
explained to the students. And by giving the proper feedback on all assignments,
examinations, class discussions and workshops, I strive to facilitate the
learning process so that every student can learn and understand what is being
taught. Lastly, motivation is a catalyst that promotes more active learning in
the classroom. Thus, we often discuss how writing affects the way we think and
learn, as well as for our chances of success, our personal development, and our
relations with other people. The next paragraph will describe the course
description for English 95 students.
Since this class is designed to prepare students for English
101, we work on writing assignments that students will encounter in both English
101 and other university classes. CSUSB places great emphasis on writing in the
six different colleges: Arts and Letters, Business and Public Administration,
Education, Natural Science, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Extended
Learning. As such, this course helps students to work toward developing
competence as a writer so that they will be able to have success in whichever of
these academic areas they wish to pursue.
Writing affects the way we think and learn, as well as for our chances of
success, our personal development, and our relations with other people. Since
most academic writing is based on reading, it is important for students to learn
to read critically, understanding the connections between reading and writing.
The emphasis in this class is on learning by doing, so I expect the students to
read and write often. We have three writing assignments, four in-class essays,
one oral presentation for each student, and a response journal. And the students
are encouraged to write multiple drafts of their essays.
Lesson Plan for 11-11-99
Re-read assignment; hand out and discuss assessment form for writing
Assignment #3: Richard Astride, "Sticks
and Stones and Sports Team Names", Barbara Ehrenreich, "In Defense
of Talk Shows", Guy Molyneux, "The Declining Art of Political
Debate", Jessica Statsky, "Children Need to Play, Not
Compete", all present examples of argumentative writing. As you read
these essays, consider how the titles are appropriate for the essays.
Closely evaluate how each writer presents the issue, takes a position, and
then develops a convincing, well reasoned argument.
In a similar fashion to these writers, write a mini-research paper
using MLA style documentation that argues a position on a
Be sure to examine the issue critically. In fact, instead of
framing an argument to support an already-formed opinion, I encourage
you to analyze the pros and cons of the issue before reaching your own
Remember that it is important to think through the issue and base
your position on solid reasoning and evidence.
Though you do not want to waffle on the issue that you argue, you
will need to anticipate readersí opposing arguments; in response to
this you may have to modify your own position by acknowledging good
points, or you will have to defend your position by refuting arguments
with which the audience disagrees.
II. To help prepare students for the middle draft peer review on Nov. 16,
scored sample position essays from some of my former English 101 students will
be handed out so that the students can read them for homework. Attached to
this handout is the middle draft peer review form that the students will
use. A discussion of these essays on Nov. 16 will precede the middle draft
peer review. Click here to
see this handout
III. In preparation for the impromptu essay for today, students and
teacher will discuss the personal experience essays that were assigned as
homework readings. After this discussion, the strategies for taking
impromptu essays will be reviewed. I will include two samples essays
focusing around the issue type of essay question.
IV. Take impromptu essay at 5:00 p.m.
The following handouts were given to the visitor:
1. It was easy to understand the writerís position? The issue was well
See St. Martinís Guide pages 223, 227 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
2. The argument bolstered the readersí own opinion, made them reconsider or
their own position, or made them think seriously about the issue for the
first time. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
3. Argumentative strategies are appropriately used. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
See St. Martinís Guide Chapter 19
4. Sources are carefully used and are integrated smoothly into the essay. 0 1
2 3 4 5 6 See St. Martinís Guide Chapter 22
5. The thesis is clear? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 See St. Martinís Guide Chapter 13
6. The argument is supported by convincing reasons and evidence? 0 1 2 3 4 5
6 See St. Martinís Guide pages 224, 229
7. The objections and opposing arguments are appropriately handled? 0 1 2
3 4 5 6 See St. Martinís Guide pages 224, 230, 235 and 537-542
8. The tone is appropriate? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 See St. Martinís Guide pages 224, 235 and 238
9. The organization is effective? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
pp. 233, 235
10. Using MLA documentation, the essay has in-text parenthetical
citations that correlate with a works cited section at the end of the essay.
It is apparent that this issue was well researched. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
The essay has a high level of polish typical to other English 95 studentsí
essays that were written under similar conditions. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
*The writer has no problems with punctuation: commas, semi colons,
colons... 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
*The writer has control of sentence structure and does not have
difficulties with comma splices, run-on sentences, or sentence
fragments. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
*The writer has good control of subordination and coordination. 0 1 2 3 4
*The writer uses good sentence variety. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
*The writer does not use wordy sentences and has good word choice
typical of academic essays. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
*The essay does not contain typos. 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
11. Folder contains all four stages of the paper: in-class invention,
in-class planning and drafting, middle draft peer review, and final draft
stages. Score: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
When answering essay examinations, be sure that you follow these steps:
Read the question very carefully. Determine what the writing task is and
how you will organize your answer.
After you read the question, restate the question in the form of a
thesis. That way, you will frame your essay around the demands of the
assignment. Your thesis statement should include three or four key points
that will be discussed in the essay. Do not copy the question word for word.
Restate the question in your own words as you create your thesis sentence.
Be patient; this skill takes a lot of practice.
Because of the imposed 45-60 minute time constraint, do not create a
formal outline of your answer. However, do create a short shopping list of
ideas that relate to the key points stated in your thesis.
Limit your focus. Do not say too much. General statements without support
are not good. Detail statements without general statements are not good
either. You must keep a balance.
Remember it is not how much you say but rather how you say it. The
quality of your writing is more important than the quantity of your writing.
I recommend that you follow the five paragraph essay format. That will show
your professor that you have strong organizational skills in your writing.
Some people say that it is best to be loyal and to work for one company
during oneís life. Others take the opposite view and say it is better to
change jobs frequently in oneís life. Discuss these positions, using specific
examples of both. Then tell which one you agree with and explain why.
The issue of being loyal to an employer or changing jobs frequently is
a very controversial one. In the workplace, some people prefer to be loyal
to one company by working there all of their life. Other workers disagree by
saying it is better to change jobs frequently. Each position deserves some
Some say that it is better to be loyal to one company. Thus, this type
of worker does not change jobs frequently. In this type of work environment, the
workers place a high value on loyalty. The worker esteems this value by
dedicating his entire life to that one company. The reward to this type of
dedication is that the employer will give the worker a good retirement package
when he reaches the age of 65. Then the employee will no longer have to worry
about money when he gets old.
Others say that it is better to change jobs often in oneís career.
First, they claim that the worker is more likely to get promoted if the worker
changes to another company which will pay him more for the experience and
expertise that he has learned. Second, this group of workers believe that if one
is not happy with oneís job, then one should leave that job. So by changing
jobs frequently, the employee can better guarantee job satisfaction. In effect,
these workers place more values on the individual worker than the company.
In the final analysis, it is better to change jobs a lot. There
has been much in the news about job discrimination. Many employers treat their
employees badly. If employees do not quit, management will continue to treat
workers harshly. Also, the employees will have a better chance for promotion if
they leave their current job after a few years of work. Then the person can
increase his quality of life.
In addition to their specialized classes in their major, students should also
be required to take general education classes in a university. Do you agree or
disagree with this statement? Give reasons to support your opinion.
Many students oppose taking general education classes at a university
because it is expensive to pay for all those classes. They also say that taking
English, History, Psychology and so on will not prepare them for the job market.
However, after careful thought, general education classes are good for
the student. It will better prepare the student for the real world, it will
help eliminate racism and discrimination, and it will help advance our society
by giving us more broadly educated individuals.
First, general education classes will better prepare the student for the
real world. An accountant who works for a company will also need
interpersonal, writing, and speaking skills if he wants to be successful at this
job. Many of these skills can be learned in general education classes such as
Public Speaking, Freshman and Senior level Composition, and Psychology courses.
With the knowledge from these classes, the worker will be able to contribute
more to his company.
Second, if a student takes general education classes, the student is less
likely to be racist and discriminatory toward minority groups. If a worker
only studies specialized courses in his major, he will not learn about other
cultures and languages. As a result, the student will be narrow minded. Not
understanding a particular culture, the students might not like it. Then the
student might develop negative attitudes toward that particular group.
Third , it will also help advance our society by giving us more broadly
educated individuals. An individual who has knowledge of social, physical
and natural sciences, humanities, and so on will have a much broader knowledge
base than one who only studies in his major.
In the final analysis, these three reasons show the we will have more
prepared, well rounded individuals graduate from our universities if they take
both general and specialized courses toward their major. Because of computers
and the information age in which we live, the international business community
is becoming smaller and smaller. Because of that, modern workers will have to
show that they have extensive knowledge in many different areas, that is if they
want to stay competitive.
Describe a person you knew well as a child. Your object is to use enough
detail that your readers can picture the person clearly from the childís
perspective and at the same time understand from the tone of your description
and from the particular details you choose how you felt about the person you
Tip #3: Make sure that the class goes as you outlined in
the pre-visit report. Don't deviate!