Formal Teacher Evaluation

I’ve been through two formal evaluations at the school where I work. It’s stressful. At many schools it can determine the future of your whole career. At my school it determines pay, advancement, and retention. But is it just about money and careers? No, it should be primarily about learning to be a better teacher. Let’s look at the process at my school, and I’d like to get a few thoughts out about a more ideal system.

The teacher evaluation system at my school is similar to many other schools, and it’s pretty well setup. It is a three vector process that’s actually better than the system I saw in one video of a school in New York.

What I mean by three vector, is that students, administrators, and the teach their self all complete the evaluation forms. Of course the administrators have the final say, but all factors are accounted for. The administrators do regular observations in all class rooms multiple times for each teacher. Students feedback is also considered, and finally it is in the teacher’s best interest to be as self critical and reflective as possible on their self evaluation so the administrators can see the teacher is aware of areas where they need to improve.

I can’t share the whole evaluation sheet here, yet, in summary, is a single page with a large comment section and an area for numerically ranking the following qualities.

Teaching Methods

Lesson Planning and Time Management

Provision of extra student counseling/tutoring

Student Behavior Management/Classroom Management

Promptness in Scoring/ Providing Student Feedback

Dedication to Self-improvement

Response to Constructive Criticism

Cooperation with other Subject Teachers and Managers

Cooperation with Local Teachers

Participation in Assessment/Curriculum Development

Participation in Extra-Curricular Activities

Adherence to Dress Code

Punctuality

Attendance

These are straight forward and clear items which administrators would care about. However they are not highly specific about the quality of teaching. That’s where general comments and observations play a role.

A more ideal system

This is still a system of resources allocation. It is more stick like than it is carrot like. Since I come from a military family, I feel that ranks and badges could play a funny little role encouraging teachers to preform better. I can’t speak from research or experience on how this would affect adults in the work space, but positive reward systems seem to work well with students.(Pfiffner, Rosén, O’Leary, 1985) I believe a reward system that garnered autonomy, security, and yes pay too would increase the teacher’s willingness to improve. I’m not talking about a strict or highly formal system; I’m simply talking about a recondition of improvement with real rewards for teachers.

Systems should always include feedback from multiple prospectives. A teacher should never be judged on a single observation by a single expert just as a student should never be judged by a single test.

At the end of the day, any system which evaluates teachers should be about the growth of the teacher. Yes, there are some people who shouldn’t be teachers, but generally everyone can become better. We need to move away from a judge and allocate model to a grow and reward model.

Pfiffner, L. J., Rosén, L. A. and O’Leary, S. G. (1985), THE EFFICACY OF AN ALL-POSITIVE APPROACH TO CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT. Jnl of Applied Behav Analysis, 18: 257–261. doi: 10.1901/jaba.1985.18-257

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Formal Teacher Evaluation

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