Students Evaluating Their Teachers

We want effective Sunday Schools, small groups, and other Bible learning opportunities. The overall structure of each of these programs matters but if the Bible teachers within these settings don’t teach well, the effectiveness of the program itself can be diminished. Who might best let us know how well teachers are doing than those who sit under their ministry — the students or small group members.

A Word About Evaluating Your Church’s Sunday School Teachers or Other Bible Teachers:

Evaluation is an important responsibility of a Sunday School superintendent, Christian Education director, or ministry leader responsible for small groups or other kinds of Bible studies.  Evaluation needs to be done with the right motivation but also using a constructive process. If you are sharing results with teachers, you need to prepare them for both positive and negative criticism. You do not want them getting defensive or so discouraged that they want to quit. — Help them understand that evaluation is a beneficial tool.

Having students evaluate the teachers is one way of doing it. Self-assessment can also be good. And, observation of teachers by leadership can be helpful as well. Ideally, a combination of all three would be good using a similar set of questions with each and then comparing all results. That way if any of the results are skewed, a look from the three perspectives could help bring a more realistic picture.

Format for Student Evaluation of Their Bible Teachers:

The exact questions you use would have to be worded in keeping with the age of the students … children, youth, or adults. The questions you use should also reflect what you want to measure.

Students Evaluating Bible TeachersYou might want to use a scale for them to respond with rather than a simple yes/no format of questions to potentially get a more accurate representation of how the teacher is doing. Or you might ask them to give examples. You want to avoid students being able to simply check off responses without truly thinking it through or being able to back it up so the evaluation doesn’t become a personality check but rather is a true assessment of the teaching.

Evaluative Questions to Ask Students about Their Bible Teachers:

You might ask:

  • Does the teacher seem to be prepared?
  • Does the teacher seem to have a good understanding of the lesson?
  • Does the teacher communicate in ways you can understand (i.e., vocabulary, concepts, etc.)?
  • Does the teacher encourage participation?
  • Does the teacher use enough variety and creative methodology?
  • Does the teacher use enough visuals in lessons?
  • Does the teacher use class time wisely?
  • Does the teacher seem to answer questions honestly and respectfully?
  • Does the teacher explain instructions well?
  • Does the teacher clearly explain expectations?
  • Does the teacher seem attentive to students’ needs?

To take it to a deeper level, you can also ask questions along these lines:

  • How has the teacher contributed to your spiritual growth?
  • What do you see as the teacher’s greatest strength? … greatest weakness?
  • What frustrates you the most about the Sunday School class? … What do you like the most?

Please note: You are permitted to copy and use these questions to measure the effectiveness of your Sunday School or other Bible teaching ministry. If you are using all or most of the questions verbatim, you should make attribution to the source simply by a footnote such as: “Provided by Ministry Tools Resource Center –”

8 Replies to “Students Evaluating Their Teachers”

    • You are most welcome, Hyacinth. I pray God uses the tool to help your teaching ministry there be more effective, to His glory and the building up of His people.

  1. Thank your for your article. Much to think about. I do have one pressing question re: encouraging students to evaluate their teachers: assuming first of all that they are mature enough, spiritual enough, and knowledgeable enough to evaluate their teacher, is it a wise or biblical proposition to suggest that a subordinate be responsible FOR his authority? Should he not be taught to be responsible TO him? Can you imagine asking a child or teen to evaluate his parents? The emotionally immature may see this as an opportunity to retaliate, stump for his personal agenda, or object to the teacher’s personality and ignore his position. And this places the teacher in the awkward position of being accountable to his student.
    The burden of proof it would seem falls on the person who says this practice is biblical, even non-biblical,and not unbiblical in light of numerous passages about submission to spiritual authority.
    There is no question that quality control and teacher accountability should be utilized, but better it would seem through their spiritual authority than their subordinate.

    • I’m glad the article provides much to think about, J.Parker Binney. One’s perspective of spiritual authority could affect how student evaluations are viewed. Biblically we must conclude that leaders have been given an entrustment and oversight of the Body (1 Pet. 5:1-3) and teachers a grave responsibility (James 3:1). The Bible also clearly states that we “are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28), that we are to submit to one another regardless of position or role (Eph. 5:21), and that leaders are to be servants (Matt. 20:25-28). We must grapple with a combination of these and other similar verses, the whole of Scripture. If taken in isolation from one another it could lead to either a hierarchy structure of superior/subordinate or the opposite extreme of no authority.

      But, regardless of how we interpret Scripture, let me suggest that the purpose of student evaluations shouldn’t be about students standing in judgment, holding teachers accountable from a sense of authority. Rather, it’s about teachers learning about the effectiveness of their teaching through the eyes of their students so they can make adjustments to better reach and teach them. We all, regardless of role or position, have room to grow and improve (Phil. 3:12-14).

      If you reread the questions listed in this post, you’ll notice that they are questions students would have to answer. Unless church leadership constantly observes teachers, they can’t really answer these questions. A one or two time observation of the teacher doesn’t qualify the leader to answer the types of questions in this post. Also, often when under observation by leaders, people tend to put their best forward so that might not accurately represent.

      And yes, it is possible students may evaluate with wrong motivations or perceptions but even that can be useful for teachers to know. That’s also why it’s suggested in the article that ideally a combination of self-assessments, observation by leadership, and student evaluation could produce the best results to bring a more realistic and most helpful picture.

      I hope these thoughts will give you even more to think about.

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