Using evidence to evaluate teaching

(take from an assignment that I am currently writing)

It is imperative that educators first understand that evidence of student learning does not apply only to results of formal testing. There is currently a world-wide push for data gathering of student learning evidence and this has led to unfortunate competitive analysis of raw test data between schools and between countries. Test data alone has limited value to help improve student learning and so it is important that teachers are knowledgeable and able to identify ways to obtain and use evidence of learning in their classrooms.


Key features of a teacher that is improving teaching and learning via an evidence-based approach are the teacher’s attitude, teacher’s ability to evaluate their teaching and whether a teacher is involved in professional development research. Hattie (2012) suggests that quality teachers are passionate about teaching and have an evaluation of teaching impact mindset. Teachers who are continually evaluating their impact on student learning and question how they could improve student learning by changing their own teaching strategies, are viewed as change agents (Hattie, 2012). The underlying mindset is one that accepts no excuses, like the socio-economic status of a student, and sets high expectations and challenging activities for students. Simply asking students to try their best is not good enough. Teachers as change agents and evaluators are constantly evaluating their teaching, promoting quality teacher-student relationships and using evidence-based approach to improve teaching and learning


Evidence-based teaching can include both the daily evidence available from students in lessons and also from current research. Teachers who are continually improving their professional knowledge through professional development, especially those that study tertiary-level education courses, are likely to implement current research into their teaching practice (Bird, 2001). When a teacher participates in such study they are often stimulated to further their research, evaluate their current teaching practice with an evidence-based approach and then implement changes into their teaching to improve student outcomes and improve their own teaching .


Promoting the use of evidence to inform teaching is currently a hot topic in the media, yet the message has been unfortunately diluted by focusing only on publicising standardised testing and its resulting competitiveness. A beginning teacher that is knowledgeable about the use of evidence to improve teaching and learning will be better able to understand the media hype and also know the value of such an approach in teaching.


As a beginning teacher I know that I am passionate about improving student outcomes and being the best teacher possible. Therefore it is obvious that beginning teachers should implement current research in how best to achieve these outcomes of excellence in teaching and learning. To be a successful teacher I assume that I have an impact on student learning and I use evidence to know this; “know thy impact” (Hattie, 2012). My professional growth requires that I continually evaluate my impact on learning and am informed through current research and daily evidence of student learning.


Bird, E. (2001). Teaching as an evidence-based profession. In F. Banks, & A. S. Mayes (Eds.), Early professional development for teachers (pp. 273-296). London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd.

Hattie, J. (2012). Visible learning for teachers: maximizing impact on learning. New York, NY: Routledge



3 comments on “Using evidence to evaluate teaching

  1. […] (take from an assignment that I am currently writing) It is imperative that educators first understand that evidence of student learning does not apply only to results of formal testing. There is c…  […]


  2. […] in the benefits of getting feedback from students. I am constantly evaluating my teaching and the impact I make on student learning.  I think it is also important to give students an opportunity to voice their opinions of my […]


  3. elketeaches says:

    Reblogged this on elketeaches and commented:

    I wrote this last year and now that I am teaching I believe in this even more….


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