performance-based teacher evaluations like No Child Left Behind waivers did, teacher evaluation policy has largely fallen out of the public narrative. But that does not mean states or districts know how they are going to proceed with teacher evaluation policy—in fact, its future remains unclear in this new era of lessened federal oversight."
- Taken from an article which appeared on the website of the Thomas B Fordham Institute on December 20th 2016
Is the same happening here in England and Wales?
Just how valued is appraisal?
Is it a tool for personal development and school improvement or simply an ineffective performance management process?
65% of teacher in Australia consider the process of appraisal to be little more than a ‘box-ticking exercise’ [Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership]
Three factors determine the effectiveness of teacher appraisal:
1. Does it benefit the teacher?
a. How will the evaluation be used?
b. Does the teacher have a chance to improve any rating, grade, or score?
2. Is it wanted / asked for?
a. Does the teacher “respect” the evaluator?
b. Does the rating, grade, or score mean anything to the teacher?
3. Does the evaluation give the teacherr the opportunity and information needed to make the necessary improvements?
a. Are specific improvement strategies identified?
b. Are opportunities available for the teacher to learn and practice these strategies?
c. Are the targets specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time limited?
Another important aspect is the manner in which information is shared with the teacher.
One suggestion for increasing meaningful methods of appraisal is to survey the individual(s) who will be appraised. Questions, such as the following, provide a base from which to build useful, meaningful appraisals:
1. What does your ideal performance review look or sound like?
a. What would you like it to say?
b. What knowledge and skills would be recognized?
c. What accomplishments would be included?
2. What type of environment do you work best in?
a. Do you prefer to work alone, or as part of a team? Explain.
b. On a scale of 1 to 10, how autonomous would you prefer your job to
i. How often do you think you should report your progress?
ii. How would you like to report your progress?
3. What expectations do you have of yourself?
a. What expectations do you think that the school has of you?
b. What expectations seem reasonable to you?
c. What expectations don’t seem reasonable to you?
d. How do you reconcile any differences between the two?
4. What type of evaluation is most helpful for you?
a. How would you like to receive your observation feedback?
b. How would your strengths to be presented?
c. How would you like the school to address your opportunities for improvement?
For teacher evaluations to be effective, the focus must be on personal and professional growth that leads to improved performance and school improvement. When fear is present or when teachers perceive evaluations as little more than “hoops” to be jumped through, there is virtually no chance for appraisal to be useful. Our teachers and students deserve a system that improves teacher performance and student learning.
© Phil Garner, April 2017.
Phil undertakes a range of both teacher appraisals and senior staff mentoring/ induction programmes.
Please contact him for a discussion on how to make best use of staff appraisals.
T: 07714 700983
You can also find out more information about Phil on his Portal Consultancy Page
Related Information: You can also watch a great video on lesson observations by Jon Haines of Newcastle University here.