Section VII—Teacher Evaluation and Development

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.

Comments

I agree wholeheartedly that our evaluation system should drive our teacher professional development. I had a recent conversation with district content area administration about specifically creating professional development based on district-wide teachers' needs as documented by the evaluation system. Another key professional development piece should be linked to what our teachers need to further our students' learning, based on students assessment documentation. These items should drive professional development for all teachers. Ongoing compensated teacher training should be a crucial piece of education reform. How can we create higher expectations for teachers without giving the financial and educational support to achieve it?

I say, "bring it on"! Teachers are ready to handle the problems. As a matter of fact, we have been handling the problems. I am in full support of this project because it is time we get the RESPECT we deserve. People who don't work in schools have no idea the variety of issues teachers deal with daily. Often time students bring the world and all of its problems with them through the schools' doors. We definitely act as "first responders". As teachers we have to sift through these issues: poverty, violence, abuse, neglect, etc. in order to teach. Teachers have to act as psychologist, social workers, moral leaders, and guardians to their pupils.

It’s time that teachers get paid for the work they do. So many teachers leave the profession because they are unable to provide for their selves and families. Others leave stay and live below the poverty line. The way teachers are compensated is a reflective how much our nation values education. If education was valued—teachers would be getting paid more for the work they do.

Teacher evaluation is tricky. If it's a bunch of extra paper-work, people will BS it to get it over with. If teacher evaluation is tied to income, then that opens up a lot of room for exploitation.

I think the teacher evaluation process needs to be a combination of factors weighted differently that includes teacher self-evaluation, administrator observation, and student self- evaluation. This would help minimize the effect of any one portion of the evaluation having the power to totally influence the overall snapshot of the teachers effectiveness. Having students self-evaluate their own progress and learning has shown to have a positive effect in my own content area (PE) and I think it would be useful in other areas too. I also think there should be a "pay for performance" incentive available for teachers who are effective and have a measurable impact on student learning. It's a complex problem but a very worthy topic that definitely needs reevaluation.

The new teacher evaluation needs to be based on more than just one observation by an administrator who may or may not understand the content being taught. Teachers should be evaluated multiple times based on there planning process, implementation and the assessment process of a unit. Colleagues should be involved in the process of evaluating each other and providing constructive feedback. A more detailed observation protocol needs to be devised so that observers are not just marking off items on a checklist such as objectives, warm-ups and a closing activity. The observer should be more focused on what the students are thinking and getting out of the lesson.

I agree that observers should not just be checking off items. When observations are to occur there should be more substance to them. Such as having a meeting pre-observation so that the teacher might be able to explain their goals and how they are going to attempt to achieve them in the lesson. Having multiple observations throughout a single unit so as to enable there to be a better perspective gained through seeing the variations that occur from day to day within the classroom. And I also agree that the observations should include analyzing what the students gained, such as possibly looking at the work they completed at the end of the lesson, or talking with students briefly about what they learned that day in class.

It is remarkable that your 'researchers' found that teachers want exactly the evaluation system that you are pushing in Race to the Top. Teachers do not want to be evaluated by student test scores. They do not want merit pay. They do not want to lose tenure based on RTTT evaluation systems. This is propaganda, nothing more.

As we read and reflect on the post, it is our opinion that as our students are being evaluated. However we believe that teacher evaluations should be an individual measure of each individual teacher based on the growth that his/her students show in comparison to the level they were at when he/she received them at the beginning of the school year.

It is also important that teachers be evaluated multiple times and constructive feedback be given to help promote growth and improvement in classroom management and pedagogy so that evaluations can be compared. This system should also include a round of informal evaluations that offer feedback for growth and areas of strength and weaknesses prior to a formal evaluation.

Peer evaluations is another area that we think should be utilized as we develop model teachers to assist with improving our teachers on their path to improving our students.

I think the second paragraph gets right to the issue. Opportunities for constructive feedback from informal observations is vitally important to improving as a teacher. Being observed once during a marking does not give the teacher the tools they need to improve and succeed. I also agree with the idea of peer evaluation. While having a peer observe and evaluate your teaching may be hard to implement due to scheduling and other engagements, it may be worth considering having peers from a department develop the criteria they are to be evaluated upon. Administrators often do not know all content areas, so by having a department develop what they want to be evaluated on, observations can be more constructive.

I work in an alternative high school -- when my students are especially challenged to excell academically. They come to me with behavior problems, academic problems, attendance problems, and emotional issues (drama!). These students have learned how to fail, and they do it well -- so they no longer have a passion for learning. For an evaluation system to determine MY effectiveness on the success (or failure) of students who do not care about education is ridiculous. Yet, that is what is happening.

The analogy I like is that I have lots and lots of water here in the desert of school - and they are refusing to drink because they would rather text their friends.

My passion for teaching is being affected. I used to think it was burnout, but it think it has more to do with being valued as a professional.

It must be difficult to be in that position. I believe that students are capable of more than we often are aware of and sometimes it's easy to prejudge their abilities and if they care about learning or not. An evaluation system based SOLELY on the success or failure of the students is not the answer and it should be reformed to include alternative methods of evaluation, such as student portfolios/ reflections and even teacher self evaluation, which could include action research or portfolios as well. Evaluation based on test scores or grades is outdated.

Unfortunately I have worked with too many teachers who focus on the limitations of their students rather than on their student's strengths. I also work with students who have been labeled emotionally disturbed. Many are hospitalized for months at a time, come to class with ankle monitors, and come to school angry. Now what? I remind myself they are good people who have struggles, and are doing their best considering their age and circumstances. I'd likely be just like them if I had their lot in life. That motivates me to do whatever it takes to reach them. Idealism has yet to let me down. Some of my students fail academically but all leave knowing they were worthy of my efforts, are cared for and I have the expectation they will continue trying to better themselves even when they fear failure. Ask yourself, "Why should I try when students communicate they don't care?" The answer may help us identify with students who have failed repeatedly when they did try. Teachers who walk into a classroom with a level of frustration and a preconceived negative notion actually perpetuate more resistance from their students to learn. Serving students who are apathetic is a challenge. It is not a burden. It's a mission to save a life and turn around a bleak future. If we don't fight for them who will? Be that person. You may be their only chance.

Play it up. Use their cell phones as a learning tool. Text them questions or math problems. Use what they have learned to love. Use a blog to give instructions for an assignment, and have them e-mail the completed assignment to you. Sometimes we have to switch around the products that we use for learning to get them interested, and they'll never know that they are actually learning something.

I agree, using technology is a great mechanism for getting students involved in the classroom. Teachers need to be careful to make sure the students are safe while using the online sites. I have opened a class twitter and instagram account that the students enjoy using.

Georgia does have this concept in place, but the evaluation tool that is being used is subjective; therefore, it is scored by the recommendation of the evaluator. I teach my way, just as others teach their way. Who is right and who is wrong?

The Good Force be with you!

Excellent Teacher Evaluation and Development will open the door for teachers to give their best in teaching their students.

Live forever and prosper!