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3 Critical Hallmarks of Effective Teacher Evaluations

If the state of New York is any indication of things to come, more officials will start finalizing plans to conclusively overhaul their school systems, including teacher evaluations, which have been the subject of much debate in recent years.

The revisions to New York’s educational system have been described as a major organizational shift. Among the hallmarks of the newly revised system, which will be fully in effect in 2019, includes new tests, academic standards, and teacher evaluations that will place less emphasis on student test scores.

Revisions with the teacher evaluations will be among the last changes made, according to State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.  “We want to make sure that there’s a very purposeful communication process in place for whatever we end up deciding is the evaluation structure,” she said in an article for Chalkbeat.  “Going too early on some of these key components would cause us to be first of all, I think, stressed.”

As more states implement changes to their school systems, several best practices are emerging as hallmarks of effective teacher evaluations. They include the following:

1. More comprehensive classroom observations.

More schools are abandoning the quick classroom checks in favor of more comprehensive observations by both peers and administrators. According to research highlighted by Education Next, teacher evaluations that rely on numerous highly structured classroom observations have become increasingly popular by school systems. Some schools indicate that it has led to significant improvements in teacher performance.

2. Increased communication.

Likewise, employee evaluations that include frequent feedback have become increasingly seen as more effective. According to a study cited by Fast Company, annual performance reviews are becoming extinct. Employees now want more feedback on a regular basis as well as the ability to openly communicate with their supervisor and collaborate with their peers, according to research conducted by Kansas State University, Texas A&M and Eastern Kentucky University.

3. More use of technology.

Along with increased communication is the need to manage more reporting. As a result, more schools and companies are using technology to help them navigate the process more smoothly. Both evaluators and employees can more easily access the points discussed, including training recommendations and highlights of conversations and evaluations.

Just as important, an effective teacher development strategy doesn’t waste anyone’s time with burdensome steps, needless paperwork, or action items that add nothing to the classroom.

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