Formative Assessment for Instructors


How do you reflect upon your teaching?  Keeping a journal helps to promote development of reflective thinking towards teaching and learning practices.  To build a deeper understanding of teaching practices, beliefs, and identities, some instructors on campus have found it helpful to document specific teaching events, writing about what happened in the classroom that worked or about concepts or strategies that didn't go over as well.

How can you get started journaling about your teaching experiences?  This Instructor Class Reflection document provides a few reflection prompts.

Mid-semester Assessment Program (MAP)

The MAP is an opportunity for Wayne State University (WSU) instructors to get timely student feedback regarding their perceptions of what is going well and what could be changed or improved while the course is in progress.  The MAP is voluntary, confidential, and feedback is provided only to the instructor.  It follows a three step process:

  1. A preliminary meeting with an Office for Teaching and Learning (OTL) consultant to review your goals and to answer questions about the MAP process.
  2. A brief class visit by an OTL consultant to collect students' feedback.
  3. A follow-up meeting to review key themes in students' feedback and to identify helpful instructional strategies and resources.

The OTL conducts the MAP during the middle of the Fall and Winter semesters.  All WSU instructors are welcome to participate in a MAP.  To get more information, or register for your class visit the OTL MAP website.

Classroom Observations

The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) is a classroom observation protocol that reliably characterizes how faculty and students are spending their time in the classroom.  Although the name suggests STEM, the protocol can be applied across disciplines.  OTL consultants are trained on how to watch for different faculty and student behaviors utilizing the protocol.  The results characterize how you divide your time between various methods of teaching over the class session.  As an instructor, you can use this data to determine if your class could benefit from rebalancing the distribution of lecturing, learning activities, or other pedagogies.  It also allows you to better understand how your students are spending their class time and, most importantly, if they're engaged with the material.

Visit the Carl Wieman Education Initiative COPUS website for more background on its development.

To request a classroom observation, contact the OTL at (313) 577-0001 or

Peer Review

At WSU, peer review of teaching is a formative faculty development process in which one faculty member calls on a faculty peer to observe his/her teaching and provide feedback.  WSU faculty use peer review as a collaborative process towards the goal of student success.  Peer review is organized at the department level, and the OTL has compiled resources for departments working to establish a peer review of teaching program, suggestions for departmental committees, general protocols for conducting a review, and useful tips from similar programs nationally.  Additionally, the peer review process is meant to complement other faculty development programs.  To access the peer review resources, visit the OTL website page on peer review.