The General Teaching Council for Scotland

What is self-evaluation?

Self-evaluation is an integral part of the Professional Update process. As part of engagement in the Professional Update process individuals should self evaluate using the Professional Standards relevant to them and their context. But what should this self-evaluation look like?

Self-evaluation can take many forms and may occur at various stages in the professional learning journey. It will also involve a range of sources to help inform you. The Standards are one key reference but other sources may also form part of your self-evaluation, such as your own PRD targets and School/department/organisation's improvement plan. The central role of self-evaluation processes is exemplified in the visual:

Model of professional learning

The advice and guidance below focuses on the features of self-evaluation that help to ensure it becomes a meaningful part of the PU process.

Self-evaluation should be a useful process that is rigorous and enables you to be critically reflective about yourself as a professional and your practice.

Self-evaluation should support you to:

  • Reflect on what you have done
  • Think about what you might do next
  • Consider your own progress and development
  • Deeply understand your professional practice, your professional learning and the impact of this on your thinking, professional actions, those you work with/support and the pupils and their learning

Self-evaluation will involve:

  • Asking deep and searching questions about self and practice
  • Using the GTCS Standards to inform and guide your reflections
  • Using other influencing factors such as school or dept improvement plan; other standards or targets; issues relevant to your particular context
  • Using your ongoing reflections and enquiry into practice
  • Considering the needs of learners/colleagues in your context
  • Using evidence from a range of sources to inform and support your self-evaluation (specific guidance on evidence can be found at:

The self-evaluation process will enable you to:

  • Plan for meaningful professional learning
  • Engage in critically reflective dialogue as part of the PRD process
  • Identify and focus on areas you wish to develop expertise or accomplishment
  • Consider your career planning

There are many approaches to self-evaluation and a number of tools that will help support the process. Some tools allow you to engage in a more critically reflective evaluation and others simply offer a 'quick temperature check' which are useful but do not provide that opportunity to dig deeper that is required.

Some key questions will help to frame your self-evaluation:

  • What will help inform me in my self-evaluation? And why will it be useful?
  • How do I know? What evidence do I have from my practice/professional reading?
  • Why is this important to me?
  • What Standard(s) and which aspects within it are most relevant to me and why?

Some useful starting points and tools to support your self-evaluation:

Reflective Questions These reflective questions provide areas for reflection and focus. They are not an exhaustive list but are very useful starting points.
Self-evaluation Wheel: Standard for Full Registration These self-evaluation wheels are really useful coaching tools to support the self evaluation process. You might find working with a coach helpful or simply use them yourself to reflect and ask some deeper questions about your engagement with the Standards/key aspects of the Standards.
Professional Learning Planning Wheel

The Professional Learning planning wheel outlines useful questions at key stages of the professional learning process. They can help frame your thinking and connect together the elements of planning, self evaluation, professional learning and evidence.

Use these to help you focus on and identify your learning needs and consider the value and impact of these. This should connect with the relevant areas of the Standards and other influencing factors within your own context.

A model of Professional Learning As you engage in your self-evaluation you will be thinking about the professional learning you have done and the future learning that may be useful for you. To reflect deeply about that learning it will be helpful to consider the nature of your PL in relation to the dimensions identified in the model.
  • To what extent did your Professional Learning experience embed these dimensions?
  • Has your professional learning tended to lean towards one dimension over another?
  • If so, why do you think that happened and what difference does that make?
  • What might you do differently now?

Think about the way this connects to the relevant aspects of the Standards.

Having an 'enquiring disposition' can be an important part of the self-evaluation process. It is that openness to questioning and challenging your assumptions and practices.

Enquiry is about knowing deeply and having that critically informed approach - this both informs and is part of rigorous self-evaluation.                       

Self Audit

Popular approaches to self audits include 'traffic lighting' yourself against the Standards.

Whilst this can sometimes provide a useful indicator for you and help you to start thinking about the Standards, it can be quite limiting. This approach may give you a 'temperature check' but does not allow you to develop a deeper more meaningful insight.

Remember, for Professional Update you do not need to 'cover' all aspects of the Standards or prove competence against them.

It is more important for you to consider in depth particular areas and think critically about your assumptions, practices and thinking in this area.

If you do engage in a self audit remember to always ask yourself questions such as:

  • 'how do I know?'
  • 'what difference does this make?'
  • 'why is this important?'
  • 'how is this informing my practice and/or my professional leaning?'
Examples of professional learning journeys These examples show 3 individual teachers reflections of their learning journey. They each engaged in self-evaluation process throughout and this formed their preparation for the PRD discussion.
Reflecting on the values

The professional values are at the core of the Standards. The same values are reflected across the Standards and are relevant to all registered teachers regardless of post.

Specific advice and guidance about reflecting on the values is available. This should support your self-evaluation in this area.

Learning for Sustainability Learning for Sustainability is an integral part of the GTCS Standards. It is important to consider this area in relation to your own understandings, context and practice. The tools on this page help to frame some key questions that will support your self-evaluation and relate this to relevant areas of the Standards.
Explore the Standards You may find the 'Explore the Standards' toolkit useful in helping to support your self-evaluation. The toolkit can be used to view selected aspects of the Standards, view the Standards by themes and compare aspects between two Standards.