Ace teacher evaluation surveys with SurveyMonkey

Uncover the student feedback you need to take your teaching to the next level.

Getting honest, high-quality feedback from students is a powerful way to boost your teaching and a great opportunity to “walk the walk” of a growth mindset. After all, the belief that intelligence can be developed through learning, persistence, and hard work isn’t just for students. It’s also handy for instructors, especially when it comes to teacher evaluation surveys.

Teacher evaluation surveys don't just measure the molding of young minds—they can help teachers make more informed instructional decisions and advance their relationships with their students. 

Let’s take a look at what that evaluation process might look like, why it’s important, and how using evaluation surveys can supercharge your growth as a teacher.

What is teacher evaluation?

Teacher evaluation is a standardized process used to review teachers’ performance and effectiveness. The feedback from teacher evaluations can be used to improve instructional methods and strategies—which, in turn, will improve the student experience. That last part is key, as feedback that comes directly from students helps teachers hone their teaching styles, identify learning gaps, address obstacles in their classrooms, and more. 

Why is it important to evaluate teachers?

You can’t improve the quality of your teaching without first understanding what needs improvement. The goal of teacher evaluations, particularly a teaching survey for students, is to collect insights that can be used to take action. A solid system of teacher evaluation will:

  • Assess the effectiveness of your instruction, so you can repeat successful strategies and rework those that don’t resonate with students. 
  • Clarify professional development needs, so you can seek out the training or resources that will fuel your teaching. 
  • Identify gaps in tools, support, and funding that may have prevented students from grasping a concept or fully engaging in the classroom.
  • Provide evidence of growth and valuable data that you can use to inform your instruction or advance your career.

How to use teacher evaluation surveys

The easiest way to find out what students think about your teaching and your course is to ask—and the easiest way to do that is with a survey. Sending an evaluation survey to students will give them a voice, allow you to efficiently collect their feedback, and help you identify trends and issues that need your attention. 

Here are four steps you can take to gather student feedback through teacher evaluation surveys:

  1. Explain the purpose and goals of the survey
    Take the time to discuss why you’re sending this survey to your students. Explain how you’ll look at the data, how you’ll act on it, and why you value students’ honesty. Be up front about whether students have the option to answer the survey anonymously and whether anyone else, like your department head or fellow teachers, will see the results. The Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University also suggests mentioning student feedback in your syllabus. This will emphasize that feedback is a component of your course and may help students pay closer attention to their experience in your classroom.
  2. Ask the right questions
    How do you know what questions will spark valuable student feedback? Start by considering what you want to get out of your teacher evaluation survey. Maybe you want a better understanding of how students view your teaching style or whether they feel comfortable approaching you with questions. Maybe you want to dig into the workload, pace, and structure of your course, then follow up with questions on your instruction. (Our course evaluation template can help with that.) Think about what you need to know to enhance your teaching and your relationship with your students.

    To get the most out of your questions, vary your question types and make sure your survey includes some open-ended questions with text boxes for unstructured responses. For example, Cult of Pedagogy suggests asking something like “What else do you think I should know?” This question “can elicit some of the most powerful and significant information you’ll get” because it leaves room for student feedback that may not have been covered by other questions.
  3. Look for trends and make data-driven changes
    Assessing student feedback can be challenging, so it’s important to approach it with an open mind and keep an eye out for patterns that point to needed improvements. “A complaint from one student is worth noting,” says Cult of Pedagogy, “but fifty million Elvis fans can’t be wrong.” If the data shows that 80% of your students had difficulty with a particular assignment, that gives you a jumping off point to evaluate whether the instructions, requirements, or introductory lesson needs an overhaul.
  4. Set benchmarks and plan for the future
    Rather than a one-and-done experience, make your teacher evaluation survey a habit. Send it regularly at the end of a course, and consider sending it mid-semester as well; that way, you can address any issues before the course ends and compare the first set of results with the last. That comparison is important, as it allows you to track your development and set benchmarks for future evaluations. 

Teacher surveys: Get student feedback with SurveyMonkey templates

Sample questions for teacher evaluation surveys

  1. How knowledgeable was your instructor? 
    • Extremely knowledgeable
    • Very knowledgeable
    • Somewhat knowledgeable
    • Not so knowledgeable
    • Not at all knowledgeable
  2. How clearly did your instructor explain the course material?
    • Extremely clearly
    • Very clearly
    • Somewhat clearly
    • Not so clearly
    • Not at all clearly
  3. How would you rate the instructor’s mastery of the material?
    • Excellent
    • Very good
    • Somewhat good
    • Not so good
    • Not at all good
  4. How easy was it to approach the instructor with questions or concerns?
    • Extremely easy
    • Very easy
    • Somewhat easy
    • Not so easy
    • Not at all easy
  5. How well did your instructor answer students’ questions?
    • Extremely well
    • Very well
    • Somewhat well
    • Not so well
    • Not at all well
  6. Was the speed with which your instructor presented the course material too fast, too slow or about right?
    • Much too fast
    • Too fast
    • The right amount
    • Too slow
    • Much too slow
  7. Was the work for this class too easy, too hard, or about right? 
    • Much too easy
    • Too easy
    • About right
    • Too hard
    • Much too hard
  8. How helpful were the homework assignments to your understanding of the material?
    • Extremely helpful
    • Very helpful
    • Somewhat helpful
    • Not so helpful
    • Not at all helpful
  9. What was your favorite/least favorite part of the course? [open-ended]
  10. Is there anything else you think your instructor should know? [open-ended]

Extra credit: Useful features for teacher surveys

Our evaluation templates make it easy to create teacher evaluation surveys—but there’s also a full roster of features to amp up your survey experience. Here are just a few teacher favorites:

  • QR codes: Provide a convenient way for students to access and take your survey
  • Data charts: Easily visualize students’ feedback with charts, graphs, and more
  • Filter and compare rules: Sift through your survey results and compare how different groups of students responded
  • Skip logic: Customize your survey experience by sending students down different paths depending on how they answer a question or what page they’re on 

Available for Enterprise or Team Premier plans:

  • Custom question bank: Draw from a library of admin-approved questions that you can reuse and share with colleagues 
  • Multilingual surveys: Reach more students by giving them the option to take your survey in their preferred language 
  • Activity tracking: Enterprise Admins can track all user activity, including logins, survey creation, data exports, and more

Looking for more inspiration for your teacher evaluation survey? Check out our education surveys for additional teacher surveys, as well as these resources:

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