Almost no one perceives that current teacher evaluation systems are working well. Even as the metrics in some states and districts have improved, most teachers still find themselves assessed in very distinct events once or twice a year. For teaching to be truly transformed, teachers need integrated and useful evaluation systems with results closely aligned to professional learning and ongoing development. Teachers and principals would contribute to designing and implementing equitable and transparent evaluation systems with multiple measurements of effectiveness. The evaluation systems we envision would include a range of summative and formative components, such as an analysis of teacher responsibilities and accomplishments, measurements of student growth data, results from formal observations, self-evaluations, and feedback from students and peers. These evaluations would be more meaningful and useful, informing decisions related to all aspects of advancement, including compensation, tenure and dismissal. Observations would be made by skilled evaluators who are knowledgeable about both content and pedagogy.
In a transformed profession, all teachers and principals will be evaluated at least annually, regardless of tenure status. Furthermore, the professional learning that springs from the results of evaluations would be used to transform teacher training. Professional learning would be an important priority in school learning communities, with learning plans inextricably linked with current classroom practice and with teachers observing and helping to sharpen each other's methods. Instead of teachers being sent out of the building for expensive professional development that helps only a few teachers, schools would become learning communities, which promote collaborative work and align teacher development with high, nationally recognized standards for professional learning. As a result, teachers' continued development would include on-going, job-embedded professional development that is informed by data and that integrates innovative theories with efficacious current practice, emerging educational research, and models of human learning to achieve outcomes for students. Teachers would share in decision-making around their professional learning, so that teachers in one school might decide to work on how to best implement their state's newly adopted state standards, while others might focus on strategies to connect with the community and parents more effectively. Specifically, teachers could engage in professional development to build their skills using technology to engage students, personalize instruction, and enhance their communication with parents and the educational community.