Questions to ask when Changing a Teacher Evaluation System

As a report on Connecticut’s educational system recently revealed, teacher evaluation systems throughout the state can be widely varying. The Hartford Courant noted that some districts had few to no “exemplary” teachers, while others indicated an abundance of teachers who fall into that category.

In addition, some districts weren’t using the same system — making it difficult to make comparisons across the state.

With school districts constantly in search of the ideal teacher evaluation system, the Center for Public Education offers some guidelines on holding thoughtful discussions on what it takes to develop effective performance reviews.

Here are several questions that should be asked when changing a teacher evaluation system, based on the CPE’s recommendations:

How is the evaluation system developed?
What are the goals in executing a teacher evaluation system? Do they align with the strategic plans for the district?
Who should be involved in developing the system? Should teachers be a part of the planning? Why or why not?
Should districts have some flexibility in customizing the evaluation system to meet their own strategic plans?

What should be included in teacher evaluations?
How we will measure performance? And how will those factors contribute to the overall score?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed performance evaluation?
How will student achievement be factored in? What measures will be used?
Will the same measures be used to evaluate all teachers in all fields?
How frequent will teachers be observed? Who will observe them?
Will evaluators have enough time to conduct the observations effectively?
What training will be offered the evaluators?

How are results used?
When and how will teachers receive feedback from observations?
How will the evaluation results be used to improve performance?
What will determine how the results will be used for personnel decisions?
Will the results of the teacher evaluations be released to the public? If so, how much of the information will be revealed?