Author: British Council | Published on 2 February 2023


Look at each of the questions in turn. Think carefully about how they relate to your own training experiences. Then click on each box to see tips, advice, guidance and further information.

Think about training which you have participated in or conducted. How / when was it assessed or evaluated? What was the purpose of this?

Assessment and evaluation in teacher training can take place at any point of the course – before, during and after.

There is often self-evaluation before and after the training using pre- and post- course questionnaires. These can tell you how much teachers already know about the topic, and at the end how much they have learnt. They might also ask about teachers’ attitudes and opinions towards particular topics in the training.

During the training, there may be informal assessment tasks, which help the trainer understand how much the trainees have learned. These tasks include self-reflection, completion of quizzes, group tasks, and mini-presentations.

At the end of the training, there may be a summative assessment which checks the teachers’ knowledge of the content and their new skills. This assessment might be done through a written test, the teaching of a lesson (or mini-lesson) or simply through a conversation and oral assessment. 

Did you think teachers like being assessed? Why / why not? How can you make assessment a positive part of training?

Teachers on training courses and learners in the classroom are similar in many ways. However, you must remember that they are adults and are your peers. Assessment and evaluation need to reflect this; otherwise, teachers may feel patronised. If they feel like this, they may not want to participate in the assessment process. 

The purpose of assessment in training is to help teachers apply what they have learnt to their own classroom practice. Ways to do this include teaching mini-lessons, making materials they can use later, and planning future work with their learners. When assessment has a practical value, teachers are more likely to see it positively. 

What is the purpose of assessing teachers during a training course? What types of inclusive assessment can you use?

Assessment methods should measure what teachers have learnt and how they will apply the knowledge in their classrooms. Your assessment plan should not include just one type of assessment, but rather a range of tasks so that all teachers can demonstrate what they know and what they can do.

These guidelines might be helpful for you when planning how you will assess your trainees:

  • provide objectives and if possible, rubrics for the assessment task, so that teachers understand the purpose of the assessment.
  • blend formative (assessment for learning, usually during the training) and summative (assessment of what they have learnt, usually after the training) tasks
  • balance self-assessment, group/peer assessment and assessment by the trainer.
  • build in verbal, non-verbal/active and written tasks.
  • make assessment non-threatening by building a positive training environment where teachers feel safe and affirmed.
  • think about what will be useful for the teachers when they return to the classroom and build assessment tasks around this e.g. creating lesson plans, teaching mini-lessons to practise a new skill.

What do you need to know about teachers when designing assessment and evaluation tasks?

Remember that your trainees are likely to be as diverse as a class full of children. Therefore, as you plan an assessment and evaluation strategy, consider:

  • different learning styles – include tasks that involve reading, writing, speaking and action.
  • different personalities – include self-reflection as well as tasks that suit more outgoing teachers.
  • different language abilities – include opportunities to show what they know through, e.g., role play and creative activities. This might be done in a range of different languages.
  • special needs like visual, auditory and physical impairments – include assessments that accommodate the special needs by allowing oral as well as written tasks, allowing more time if needed.

Who will do the assessment?

Assessment shouldn’t be the responsibility of the trainer alone. Teachers are used to assessing learners, so include them in the assessment process in training. This can be very developmental. 

Self-assessment and reflection, however short, should be part of every session. It can be a checklist to fill in, or a simple journal-type reflection.

Peer assessment of some tasks is often less threatening for some teachers. They work in pairs or small groups and give feedback on each others’ work. This works especially well when teachers are teaching mini-lessons.

Group assessment, where a group gives feedback on something another group has done, like a presentation, poster, play, etc, involves all the teachers in assessment.  The group has to discuss how they will give feedback, thus thinking critically about their response.

Should you give teachers an opportunity to evaluate the course? What criteria should they be given and what assessment tools will you use?

A course evaluation assesses both the course content and your own performance as a trainer. When you plan the course evaluation, think about the purpose of the training. Ask the teachers questions such as:

  • ‘How effective was the training in helping you gain knowledge and skills?’
  • ‘Can you use what you learnt to improve your performance as a teacher?’
  • ‘Was the course relevant to your context?’
  • ‘Was the course easy to follow?’

Different tools and mechanisms for getting information include:

  • Creating a questionnaire which asks questions about the content and how they will apply it
  • Interviewing teachers 
  • Using a quiz
  • Asking teachers to write a reflection

You should use the course evaluation responses to improve your own training.

What challenges do you anticipate in assessing and evaluating teachers’ work? How could you minimise these challenges?

Some teachers don’t like to be assessed. They may become anxious and worry more about the assessment than about what they have learnt. 

Some common problems and how you could deal with them are shared below: 

‘I’m not a child – why do I need to be assessed?’ Make assessment part of the pre-course requirements so that they expect it. Make sure assessment doesn’t look or feel like a school test. Use varied assessment methods.

‘I don’t teach this level so I can’t do this assessment.’ Say that everything they have learnt can be adapted to different contexts. For example, if the material has targeted early years learners and they teach in a college, ask how the principles they have learnt can be adapted to their level.

‘I won’t have time to complete an assignment after the course.’ Make sure that post-course tasks are very focused and won’t take long to do. Ask yourself: what is the key information I want to get? You should also refer to this assessment during the training so that it is not a surprise. 

‘I’m not good at writing. I prefer practical assessments.’ As you plan your assessment strategy, take into account different learning styles and provide opportunities for role play, teaching micro-lessons, creating teaching materials, etc, as well as written evaluations.

‘I can’t fill in this pre-course evaluation. I don’t know any of the things we are going to learn.’ Reassure teachers that a pre-course evaluation doesn’t test knowledge – it shows the trainer and the participant what areas need to be covered. Tell them to fill it in honestly, even if they don’t know much about the topics yet.

What changes are you going to make in your assessment and evaluation plan to include all teachers?

This is up to you! Plan well before the training so that you have a balance between formative and summative evaluations and a variety of types of assessment. Good planning gives you peace of mind.