Instructors and Staff

Classroom Evaluation Procedure

The following information provides guidance to the evaluator on conducting a classroom evaluation and using the evaluation checklist.


Scheduled and Unscheduled Evaluations
Scheduled and unscheduled evaluations should be used in combination in order to provide instructors with feedback that is valuable to them. The following discussion provides guidelines on when to conduct both types of evaluations, who should evaluate, and how to use the results.


A scheduled evaluation is an evaluation where the instructor or instructor trainee knows in advance that an evaluation is being conducted. The following guidelines apply to scheduled evaluations. Scheduled evaluations allow the instructor to prepare for the evaluation. It may also allow the instructor time to prepare a “show” that may not be typical of usual performance. Certification, monthly, and quarterly evaluations should be scheduled. Personnel designated as instructor evaluators are the only persons qualified to conduct certification, monthly, and quarterly evaluations.


An unscheduled evaluation permits the evaluator to observe the instructor in a normal mode and can result in a realistic appraisal of the instruction. Unscheduled evaluations may cause an instructor trainee to feel threatened which may cause them to fail to perform as well as usual. Because of this, unscheduled evaluations should not be conducted until after the instructor is certified. At this point, they should become standard and therefore expected by all instructors. Course supervisors, are persons who may conduct unscheduled evaluations. The qualifications of the person conducting the evaluation will determine whether the evaluation is technique or technical. The evaluator conducting the unscheduled evaluation may use the evaluation forms or if it is less formal, similar to a spot check, the form is not necessary. In both cases, the instructor will be provided feedback as to their performance. There are no preset requirements for the number of unscheduled evaluations conducted on an instructor. Supervisors should establish a time table, frequency schedule and record keeping requirements for the unscheduled evaluation program. This section was added to provide procedures for conducting unscheduled evaluations and to stress their importance with the new evaluation procedures.


The following is a list of other occasions where evaluations should be scheduled:

  • Evaluations conducted during the instructor trainee’s training period. Since the primary focus during this period is to become technically proficient, the certified course instructor assigned to train the instructor trainee need not be an instructor evaluator. However, they must be able to provide the instructor trainee feedback on instructional technique as well as technical expertise.
  • Evaluations used to qualify the instructor to teach additional material. Since the primary focus is on technical expertise, the evaluator need not be an instructor evaluator; they must however, be a subject matter expert in that area.
  • Evaluations of instructors who are having difficulty developing their technical skills or instructional technique. Since the instructor has already been identified during a previous evaluation as having difficulty, it is best to have an instructor evaluator work with them if the problem is with technique or an instructor evaluator knowledgeable in the subject matter if the problem is with technical expertise.


Preparing for the Evaluation
Remember that the purpose of an evaluation is to improve instruction and provide feedback to the instructor. When preparing for a scheduled evaluation, the evaluator shall:

  • Contact the instructor to be evaluated several days prior to the evaluation.
  • The evaluator will explain the procedures, verify the date of the evaluation, and try and put the instructor at ease.
  • Review the course materials for the specific lesson to be observed.



Conducting the Evaluation
An instructor’s technique and technical expertise may be evaluated at the same time by an individual evaluator provided the evaluator is qualified to evaluate both. If this is the case, however, it will only be counted as one individual evaluation. If the evaluation is for technique only, the behavior statement “Is the information technically accurate”, will be marked “NA.” The procedures for evaluating both technique and technical expertise are the same. When conducting the evaluation, the evaluator should:

  • Arrive before the lesson starts and locate a suitable place from which to observe.
  • When possible, evaluate the instructor on each element on the checklist. This is normally accomplished by observing the instructor for one complete lesson or at least one period of instruction.
  • Observe the instructor in learning situations involving as many different methods and media as possible.
  • Evaluate the instructor’s attitude and emphasis on safety and a safe learning environment.
  • Debrief the instructor.
  • Schedule a follow-up debrief with the instructor. The debrief may be done immediately or later depending on the results of the evaluation and the class/instructor schedule.
  • Provide the instructor with a complete copy of the evaluation after the debrief. This copy will be used by the instructor as the basis for his or her personal instructor improvement plan.


Standards for Grading the Classroom Evaluation
The checklist contains a list of behaviors that should be observed during a lesson. The following guidelines are provided for evaluating each behavior and for determining the instructor's overall performance. Evaluators must be thoroughly familiar with these grading criteria prior to conducting any evaluations.


Step 1 - Evaluate Each Behavior Listed on the Checklist.

Each behavior will be evaluated using one of the following:
YES – Satisfactorily completed
NI - Needs Improvement
NO - Not Observed
NA - Not Applicable


For a behavior to be evaluated successfully it must be consistent with the behavior described. When an element is evaluated positively it means that the instructor has complied with the behavior as it is described. When the behavior observed is partially, but not completely, as described in the criteria, then it can be improved upon. This does not mean that the instructor did poorly in this behavior; it simply means there is room for improvement. When the instructor had the opportunity to perform a behavior but did not, it indicates poor or Unsatisfactory performance on that particular behavior. Anytime the behavior is not consistent with the guidelines provided in the section, the behavior will be unsatisfactory. If the behavior is not observed and is not applicable to the evaluation, mark all statements evaluated as NA and will be accompanied by specific comments on the back of the checklist.


Appearance is an important item to consider during an evaluation. There are no behavior statements listed for appearance on the checklist; however, the evaluator will evaluate the instructor’s appearance as per local command policy.


Step 2 — Provide Remarks for Each Behavior.

This section should provide the instructor with specific guidance on how to improve their technique for a technique evaluation; this means the comments should not be limited to negative ones. If the instructor has performed well in a particular behavior or category, it should be noted. When the purpose is to evaluate technical expertise, the evaluator must list those areas that were not presented accurately.


Step 3 Debrief of the Instructor

Instructors will be debriefed on the evaluator’s comments as soon as possible. Debriefing should emphasize both positive areas and areas that need improvement. If the evaluation is an unscheduled evaluation, a debrief may or may not be conducted. This requirement will be established by the commanding officer.


Step 4 Instructor Improvement Plan

The instructor will develop an instructor improvement plan for Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory behaviors. It is the responsibility of the evaluator to provide constructive comments for this plan and to follow up if additional evaluations are required. If additional space is needed for remarks on the Instructor Improvement Plan, a page may be attached.

 Classroom Grading Criteria


The INTRODUCTION sets the stage for the lesson. It must be presented in an interesting and motivating manner for the students to be prepared to learn. The introduction may consist of a brief overview of the material. The important issue is to prepare the student to learn. The following is a list of behaviors that should be observed.

  • Displayed Course and Topic Title — This will be written on the board or displayed in some manner. Verbally covering the behavior is recommended if this is the first session in the lesson. All other occasions you may write or display as indicated above.
  • Introduced Self — The instructor should provide background information about themselves to establish credibility with the students. The introduction is an excellent place for the instructor to use meaningful, carefully prepared personal experiences that enhance the lesson. One personal experience is generally adequate for the introduction.
  • Explained How the Material Fits Into the Overall Course — This requires the instructor to be knowledgeable of what has been taught and what is ahead. The instructor should explain the importance of this material not only to the course but to the students’ future jobs. The instructor should point out the benefits of the information to be presented and how the students might use this information in the future.
  • Explained Objectives to the Students — The instructor should explain that the objectives are not just for the lesson, but should also be the students’ objectives. Reading or having the students read the objectives is not adequate. Objectives should be explained as to how they apply to what the students are about to learn and what they must do to accomplish the objective. The instructor should check with the students to determine their degree of understanding.
  • Stressed the Importance of Safety — Safety must be addressed at the beginning of each lesson, where applicable. If safety is not a factor, mark “NA.”
  • Explained the Importance of Satisfactory Performance — The instructor should stress to the students how important it is to them to accomplish the objectives. This should be kept on a positive note rather than stressing punishment.
  • Motivated Students to Do Their Best — The instructor should create interest in the subject matter by relating past experiences. The instructor should motivate the students to take pride in their work and to do their best. The instructor should tell the students to ask questions and to get involved. The instructor should make the students feel at ease about asking questions when they do not understand something.

The PRESENTATION deals with how well the instructor was prepared to teach and how well the material was delivered. While personal characteristics will vary between instructors, several tools of the trade can be used by everyone to enhance the effectiveness of the lesson.

  • Lesson Plan Has Been Personalized — Every lesson plan should contain some personalization. The extent and amount of personalization will vary based on the instructor’s level of experience, command policy, and the nature of the material. Simply highlighting the existing material is usually not enough. Examples of personalization include: Motivating statements in the introduction; personal experiences shared when appropriate; annotated areas to stress safety or some other important point or questions to ask the students, etc.
  • Classroom and Materials Are Ready for Training — The classroom should be physically ready for the students to receive training (i.e., adequate seating arrangements; training equipment in good working condition and available as required; materials such as transparencies, slides, charts, also in good working condition and accurate).
  • Information Technically Accurate — This is to be completed by an evaluator knowledgeable in the subject matter being evaluated. When the evaluator is not qualified to evaluate technical expertise, the evaluator should mark “NA.”
  • Taught From the Discussion Points — The instructor must follow the discussion points as approved in the lesson plan. Material may not be omitted or skipped.
  • Used the Lesson Plan Effectively — The lesson plan should be used as a guide, not as a book to be read to the students. Excessive reading from a lesson plan may indicate a lack of preparation or confusion with the subject matter. When an important point must be read, it should be both taught and read to the students for emphasis.
  • Transitioned and Chained Material Effectively — Transitions are statements that allow the instructor to move through the lesson and signal the students that the instructor is progressing to a new point. To be effective, the transitions should: mention the point just discussed; relate that point to the objective; and introduce the next point.
  • Chaining Material - Means the instructor links material together in a meaningful manner. Chaining may occur by linking material previously taught with the present material. Chaining may also occur by linking the present material with what will be taught later in the course.
  • Used Questioning Techniques effectively — All questions must be phrased clearly and concisely. Answers to questions asked by the student must be complete and accurate. If the instructor does not know the answer, they should say so and get back to the student. Questions should be used to get students involved in the lesson. Several different types of questions and questioning techniques should be used during a presentation. The instructor should ask questions that promote thought and discussion as well as questions that are directed to the average level student – not too simple or too complex. The instructor should avoid stifling the discussion. This may occur when inadequate time is allowed for the students to respond. The instructor should not answer their own questions when students are not responding. The instructor should restate or rephrase the question when the students appear to be confused or are not responding to the question. The instructor must not embarrass a student who gives an incorrect answer. This discourages further participation.
  • Used Training Aids Effectively — Transparencies, wall charts, movies, films, slides, etc., must be used effectively to receive the full benefit. The instructor must make the training aid visible to all students. In the absence of other training aids, the instructor should make adequate use of the chalk or white board.
  • Maintained Proper Eye Contact — Eye contact lets the students know the instructor is interested in them. It allows for nonverbal feedback from the students. Excessive reading from the lesson or talking to the board prevents the instructor from maintaining eye contact.
  • Displayed Enthusiasm — The instructor must be positive and interested in the subject. The instructor should capture the student’s attention in such a way that the student feels that the material is critical to success.
  • Used Gestures Effectively — Gestures should be used to stress a point, convey a thought or emotion or to reinforce an oral expression. Excessive or inappropriate gestures may be distracting. Movement should be natural, equal and meaningful in the classroom.
  • Maintained a Positive, Professional Attitude — The instructor should display a sincere concern for student comprehension. Intimidation, profanity, and off-color remarks will result in an unsatisfactory evaluation. To project professionalism, the instructor should present a smart, concise, meaningful presentation. The instructor should not answer questions with “That’s not important." Loyalty to the organization must be exhibited. Instructors should never say, “I don’t know much about this, but here goes.”
  • Used Time effectively —- The instructor should keep the lesson moving. Wasting time or dragging out material is ineffective and boring. Moving through the material too rapidly is also ineffective.
  • Avoided Distracting Mannerisms — If the mannerism is distracting to the evaluator, this behavior should be marked. Examples of possible distracting mannerisms include: playing with a dry erase marker, hands in pockets, excessive use of gestures, etc.
  • Used Communication Skills Effectively — A good voice has three important characteristics: reasonably pleasant (quality), easily understood (intelligibility), and expresses differences in meaning (variety).
    • Quality includes not only the sound of the voice but the feelings projected when the instructor speaks. The vocal quality can convey sincerity and enthusiasm but may also convey anger and boredom. The instructor’s voice should always be positive, enthusiastic, and sincere.
    • Intelligibility refers to the following elements. Articulation is the precision and clarity with which the instructor speaks. Pronunciation refers to the customary way of pronouncing a word. Pronunciation acceptable in informal conversation may be substandard when presenting a lesson. Vocalized pause is the name given to syllables “a,” “uh,” “um.” A few vocalized pauses are natural and do not distract; too many impede the communication and learning process. Instructors must avoid the over use of vocalized pauses. Stock expressions, such as “OK," “like” and “you know” should also be avoided. Instructors must strive to use proper grammar at all times. When an evaluator marks this category the statements provided in the remarks section should encourage the instructor to use the proper grammar. Improper use of grammar may reduce the instructor’s credibility.
    • Variety includes a variation in voice rate, volume, force, pitch, and emphasis.
    • Maintained Flexibility — The instructor should be open to discussions that enhance the lesson but should not lose sight of the lesson. The instructor should be available to the students after class to discuss their thoughts when too much time is being spent in areas not related to the lesson.
  • Used Personal Experiences or Examples to Stress Material — Personal experiences must be meaningful to the subject taught and should not be used excessively. This may distract from the material being taught. Examples can be used throughout the lesson and should be used when the students appear confused or do not understand.
  • Explained Material Clearly — The instructor should explain the material to a level the student can understand. If students appear to be confused, the material should be explained in a different manner in order to reach the students.


To evaluate INSTRUCTOR and STUDENT INTERACTION, evaluators should observe the students as well as the instructor.

  • Established and Maintained Student Attention — The instructor should know how to get the attention of the student and keep it. Personal experiences, examples and overhead questions are all good attention getters. To maintain attention, the instructor must present the material in a way that the students can understand. The instructor should know the audience and teach to it. The instructor should learn the names of the students and be sensitive to their moods and concerns. The evaluator should be aware of the attention levels of the students. Are they sleeping, taking notes, talking among themselves, etc.?
  • Encouraged Student Participation — The instructor should give the students a chance to interact and should solicit their inputs and should allow and encourage student participation. The instructor should ask questions to involve the students. Simply saying “I encourage your questions.” in the Introduction is not enough.
  • Checked for Student Comprehension — The instructor should ask various types of questions during the lesson to check for understanding. Waiting until the summary to ask questions is not effective. These types of questions should check to see if the students understand the materials. This may include recall type questions but must include some comprehensive questions as well.
  • Established and Maintained Proper Instructor and Student Relationship — The instructor should stress the importance of the individual student but should always be clearly in charge. The instructor who loses control of the class should be rated unsatisfactory on that lesson.


To evaluate the SUMMARY, the evaluator must ensure that the instructor checked for student achievement of the objectives.

  • Related Objectives to the Lesson — Since the objectives are what the student — is trying to accomplish, the instructor must relate the objectives to the lesson.
  • Summarized Lesson Properly — The instructor must summarize the material in the lesson at least once and maybe more to ensure student understanding. When or how often the summary is conducted is not the issue; rather, did the instructor summarize, and was the summary effective. Summaries may occur at the end of the lesson where objectives are used as an outline. They may occur when the instructor is trying to maintain continuity within a lesson or when trying to highlight areas of importance. They may be used when teaching points are long or complex. Summaries of the previously taught material may occur at the beginning of the next instructional lesson or when a lesson is not completed in the same training day, it may be presented prior to introducing new material. The type of summary used is determined by the instructor and will vary based on the situation.
  • Questions Checked Student Understanding — The instructor should ask questions that help determine if the students understand the material. Questions should be thought provoking and related to the objective(s).
  • Emphasized the Importance of Safety — Instructors must continually stress safety in the Introduction, Presentation, and Summary when safety is a factor in the lesson.