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Medical Education
Educational Evaluations

Three Tiered System for Evaluations of Educators Policy

To describe the three-tiered evaluation system set forth by the Bridges Evaluation Policies and Procedures Working Group on educator evaluations in the UCSF School of Medicine Bridges Curriculum.

Evaluations of our educators (e.g. faculty members, residents, post-doctoral fellows) are critical to the ongoing improvement of teaching, our students’ learning environment, and the effectiveness of the Bridges Curriculum. Evaluations of educators are based on lecture, large and small groups, laboratory, and clinical workplace settings in which educators engage in teaching with medical students. In the Bridges Curriculum, educator evaluations will be assigned to students based on the extent of time in which students has had contact with the educator, with the goals of:

  1. Encouraging high quality evaluations
  2. Minimizing evaluation burden on students


  1. Follow sound and rigorous evaluation principles and methods;
  2. Be compliant with the accreditation standards on evaluation set forth by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME);
  3. Be compliant with the policies set forth by the UCSF campus and Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) on disclosure of information from student records;
  4. Be balanced to provide the School of Medicine with the important information needed to guide curricular decision making that:
    a. Meets the needs for continuous quality improvement of the curriuclum
    b. Provides in-depth, dynamic data on the initial implementation phase of the curriuclum
  5. Be respectful of student time and avoid student evaluation overload;
  6. Meet institutional needs, such as course director decision making and teaching faculty promotion and tenure requirements.

Apply a three-tiered system to determine how educators will be evaluated in the Bridges Curriculum. The three-tiered system is as follows:

Tier 1: Educators who engaged in teaching with students for less than 3 hours during a course (e.g., lab instructor who teaches one or two labs, one-time lecturers, and one-time small group leaders) will not be evaluated for the course. Instead, their teaching efforts will be acknowledged in the form of a “Thank You Letter” from the course.

Tier 2: Educators who engaged in teaching with the same group of students for 3 or more hours during a course (e.g., lecturer, lab instructor, or small group leader who teaches for 3 or more hours) will be evaluated with a condensed evaluation form for the course.

Tier 3: Educators who engaged in teaching with students in an immersive, longitudinal program (e.g., clinical preceptor, coaches) will be evaluated using an expanded educator evaluation form during midpoint and end of the year.

Policy Approval
UCSF School of Medicine Bridges Integration Team on May 12 2016
UCSF School of Medicine Education Dean’s Council in September 2016


1. Educators will be evaluated when they teach three or more hours with the same group of students in the course.

2. Lecturers:

a. Are evaluated when three or more hours of lecture are delivered to the class (Tier 2).

b. Include all video and in-person speakers, patient panel organizers, and team-based learning (TBL) instructors.

c. Are evaluated for the element in which the majority of their lectures took place (if the lectures cut across elements).

d. Are evaluated by a subset of students from the class.

3. Small Group and Lab Instructors:

a. Are evaluated when three ore more hours of instruction with the same group of students are given (Tier 2).

b. Are evaluated for the element of the course.

4. Coaches:

a. Are longitudinal educators and are evaluated twice per year with an expanded form (Tier 3).

5. Longitudinal Topic Facilitators (i.e. TLCS)

a. Qualifies for a tier 2 evaluation provided facilitator had three or more hours of contact with students.

b. Are stand alone evaluations not tied to any specific course.

c. Are evaluated at the conclusion of the small group/lecture/lab series.

d. Longitudinal topics will be determined by the Topics Committee under the Bridges Governance Structure.


Teaching Observation Program (TOP)

Faculty members are encouraged to explore the Teaching Observation Program (TOP). The program, established by the Academy of Medical Educators and overseen by the Center for Faculty Educators, provides health professions educators with feedback on their teaching and is a valuable method to improve teaching and subsequently, learning. TOP is particularly valuable for new faculty who have just begun teaching, or faculty teaching new content or using a new educational modality. The aim of this program is to provide faculty members with robust peer review as additional feedback on their teaching that can be in lieu of or complementary to student evaluations. 

Voluntary participation in TOP is indicative of a commitment to teaching. Upon completion of the observation, faculty can request a confirmation letter, and add to their Curriculum Vitae and ADVANCE Educator’s portfolio.

 For more information on the Teaching Observation Program, please visit the TOP website.

Updated September 1, 2017